Robert John Baune (vocals/guitar), Alex Ortberg (drums) and Judah Smith (bass) are Twin Lakes. They recently released In The Valley. The band seems to be marketing themselves as folk rock but their songs are diverse to say the least. There are songs which I wouldn’t classify as folk at all.
The album starts with “In The Valley” which is a solid song. It starts with a sing-along type melody that felt like something you might sing with a bunch of kids. It sounded great. I loved the music especially when the full band comes in. The vocalist seems to sing with a different affectation at different points in the song. His singing seemed most natural the first time the full band comes in but certain lines felt like he was really pushing it.
Up next is “Devil Comfort Me” which sounds like a different band. This sounds more like Red Hot Chili Peppers with a tinge of blues. “Other People’s Bed” was a highlight and the general direction I hope the band delves more into as they evolve. Out of the first three songs this one felt the most natural and realized. They seemed to be comfortable and I liked the upbeat vibe here.
“Wall Between Us” is the first song that is sort of a melancholy ballad. The vocalist inflection is again back and forth the whole time. Some words are smooth as if delivered by Bon Iver but other words are almost on the verge of rapping. More to my point he sounds his best and most consistent on “I Will Not Bury Myself” which is the most beautiful song on the album. It comes off as sincere and heartfelt.
As the album progress there are some highlights as well as new styles. On that note this band has all the typical signs I’ve seen in this business of a talented group of musicians who are trying to find a signature sound. They are attempting so many styles which can blur the lines of who this band is.
I preach about this all the time but is a constant you will find with almost all successful bands and certainly a key ingredient in making a successful album. Take albums as far ranging as Richard D. James Album by Aphex Twin or White Blood Cells by White Blood Cells. These two albums are very different but the one thing that is similar is that once you are done listening to them you have a very good idea of who this is and what they sound like. If that artist is visionary (although there are exceptions) the more singular of a signature sound it will be.
Overall, I would say this is a solid debut album which displays their versatility. I think the highlights I previously mentioned are where I think they thrive and should consider starting their foundation for their next release. That’s my two cents. I wish them luck and I hope to hear more.
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