Besides holding down a full time tour for their 2016 record Down In Heaven, Twin Peaks are simultaneously working their way through releasing six months of singles , the sum of which will comprise their Sweet ’17 Singles series. The project will complete in December as a 12-song album that grants the band creative flexibility while resulting in a unified body of work. Of course, it also means we get consistently new Twin Peaks for a few more months! We all win.
Listen: Sweet ’17 Singles – Twin Peaks
“Tossing Tears” launched the series in June and stays true to a sound that’s resolutely rooted in the ‘60s, while making for a breezier Beatles-style ride than their next energy-fueled rock and roll anthem, along the lines of “Butterfly” or “Making Breakfast.”
With nearly all the band’s members supplying lead vocals at one time or another throughout their discography, Clay Frankel nailing a Jagger mockney accent on one track and Lake James taking on a dryer intonation on others, the instrumentals on “Tossing Tears” drive the song over Lake James’ dynamic chops – his vocals landing somewhere between animated and toned down, to the confused and even hopeless lyrical vibe of the track. Whatever the words’ implications, the melody is reassuringly lighthearted and sorts “Tossing Tears” as a track that’s nothing if not optimistic.
Whether you admit it or not, the ‘90s was its own kind of golden age in music, especially when it came to turning out one hit wonders. There was “No Rain” from Blind Melon, “Groove Is in the Heart” by DeLite, “Steal My Sunshine” from Len, and the enduring “Praise You” from Fatboy Slim. “Tossing Tears” is far enough removed from any audible influence of the ‘90s, but when the song comes in full force at the bridge, there’s a next level something about the piano meeting the chorus of voices that brings up a kind of auricular nostalgia, hitting somewhere between “Praise You” and “Hey Jude.”
“Under the Pines” is the day drunk, idyllic B-side to “Tossing Tears.” A twangy jam, headlined by Frankel’s unmistakable vocals and seamed in with some sweet saxophone, is an ode to the good things in life: summertime, wine, and checking boxes off your sexual bucket list—an apt release for the height of summer.
Things mellow out in August with “Sun and the Trees” and “Shake Your Lonely”—two tracks that tend toward the melancholic, at least by Twin Peaks standards, but that doesn’t curb their enjoyment. “Sun and the Trees” is a rolling, instrumental-lead track that, despite a single woeful verse, runs 3.5 minutes with some rosy instrumentals to balance it out. “Shake Your Lonely” on the A-side is a bluesier number highlighted with some sweet female vocals.
So if you’re one of the forward thinking 300 who pre-ordered the Sweet ’17 Singles series 7” vinyl, feel at ease in your investment. If the running track list is any indication of the remaining 8 songs, we’re in for four more months of solid tunes from a few of Chicago’s finest.
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Cover © Daniel Topete