Twin Peaks? Sigh. But if we judged a band based on their name, then nobody would like Archers of Loaf. And we know that’s not the case. Primarily because Archers of Loaf are loved by Twin Peaks: the brand of scuzzy, reverb-laden garage rock is audible throughout Peaks’ debut album, Sunken. Sunken is a fun record –it’s furious and feverish — with undulating guitars that set off a chorus of cannonball-ing teens at the community pool in the height of summer.
Only 20 minutes pass from the jaunty opening chords of “Baby Blue” to the gauzy closing of “Ocean Blue”. Although it can get a bit samey in between, it still serves as an impressive showcase for the vocal range of frontman Cadien Lake James. “Out of Commission”, for example, features a barrage of splashy, fist-pumping shouts that contrast wildly with the soulful croon of “Irene”, a lovely dream pop ditty with reverb treatment that feels as light as sunscreen.
“Natural Villain” is the undeniable stand out. The percussion lurches under James’ haphazard vocals in a pattern that builds up to a climax: a soupÃ§on of doo-wop paired with cathartic caterwauling. It represents the way Twin Peaks capture immediacy in the same vein as their fellow Chicago band, Smith Westerns, capture detachment. More recently, their mutual hometown has drawn inevitable comparisons between the two of them, but Peaks is inarguably more aggressive. Now they just need to do something about that name. Wrapped in Plastic, maybe? Percolating Fish? R.I.P Jack Nance, We Hardly Knew Ye? Just spitballin’.
Essential tracks: “Natural Villain”, “Irene”, and “Out of Commission”.