Formed in 2018, Twin Lakes is an alternative folk rock trio out of Rochester, MN. Comprising of Robert John Baune on guitar/lead vocals, Judah Smith on bass/vocals and Alexander Ortberg on percussion/vocals, the three-piece have recently released their latest album, entitled “In The Valley”. No description on paper could accurately capture the magic of this recording. The work is strong, and goes in different directions. On paper this is some kind of moody atmospheric folk, with a splatter of Americana sprawl, and the peculiarities of alternative rock. In other words there is something odd about them that is tough to describe without actually listening to the 12 incredible songs that make up the album.
The riffs and song parts are tight, groovy little affairs with so much command as to build a cinematic degree of tension and release. These are well-oiled highly-thread organic arrangements that draw their textures from beautifully played instruments, and lush layered soundscapes.
It’s an alluring sound that leads one to believe there are twice as many players, than the actual three. Rich strings pop up on the occasion, as do gritty, crunchy guitars. In between, lots of smooth and sultry acoustic driven orchestrations, to support the copious sweeps of melody. I couldn’t name you a single unimpressive track on this record.
In other words “In The Valley” is haunting and beautiful – full of depth, longing, and reverie – a soundtrack for the inner reality and complexity of the subtle dimensions of soul. It is without doubt, one of the most beautiful albums I have heard this year. From the opening title track, “In The Valley”, to the closing cut, “I Will Not Bury Myself (Radio Edit)”, the album will have you loving every song.
Plus there are so many tracks on this album that are brilliant all the way through. Among them, the overdriven guitar crunch of “Devil Will Comfort Me”, the mellifluous harmonies of the upbeat “Other People’s Beds”, and the poignant storytelling of “Walls Between Us”.
Throughout these songs Twin Lakes don’t even have to purposely remind you of how good they are, it is just so apparent the whole time you’re listening. Tempo changes within songs, lyrics you can relate to, lilting melodies pulling at you and emotional resonance, continually create interest.
There aren’t too many modern bands, in my mind, that can unceasingly fulfill this equation, and then embellish it with superb vocals and instrumentation. “Picking Up Scabs”, I Will Not Bury You”, “Loneliness on Furlough”, “Best of Nights”, “The Sun Always Rises” and “Solitude”, prove that Twin Lakes can produce this consistent excellence almost at will.
Their music seems very old, very modern and very unique…work that out if you can. And it definitely has a strong pop music sensibility built into its complex arrangements. In fact multiple listens reveal a rich complexity that becomes increasingly engaging.
For a simple, under-three-minute-taste, just lay your ears on the epic “The Sun Always Rises”. This is a simply fantastic album and a huge step forward for Twin Lakes, as it goes from gentle persuasion, to a full-on explosion!