For those who not only accepted the fact that there was a band who thought it wasn’t a totally embarrassing idea to call themselves Twin Peaks, but actually took the time to listen to a band called Twin Peaks (in all fairness, it could be worse), the reward was a surprisingly enjoyable mini-LP from the Chicago feel-good garage rockers. Their 2013 debut Sunken was a shaggy, vaguely rootsy effort that drew warranted comparisons to their Windy City peers the Smith Westerns. So if Twin Peaks feel like a kid brother version of that band, it’s because they are — frontman Caiden Lake James’s brother Hal ditched their pre-Peaks project Teenage Dream to drum for the SWs. Now comes Wild Onion, a much cleaner update on Twin Peaks’ sound that follows in the footsteps of the Smith Westerns sonically refurbished sophomore release, Dye It Blonde.
Wild Onion is a frontloaded affair, its first half brimming with plenty of bite-sized, comfort-foody guitar-rock touchstones, like the Cali-fried Thin Lizzy of opener “Found a New Way” followed by the glammy, high-energy highlight “Strawberry Smoothie.” Paisley-patterned British Invasion (“Mirror of Time”), a punchy Ty Segall-styled ripper (“Fade Away”) and even a blacklit make-out interlude (“Strange World”) all follow along nicely. And while Twin Peaks aren’t rewriting any rules here, they have style to spare. But Wild Onion‘s back half feels less varied and more generic, a cheerful blur of tracks that, despite being fun (“Telephone,” “Good Lovin’”), are mostly forgettable. Chalk it up to the fact that, at 40 minutes, Wild Onion slightly outstays its welcome, and yields only a handful of keepers.