There’s less than a month to go before the new iteration of Twin Peaks hits the airwaves, and though I wouldn’t say I’m anxiously awaiting the show’s return, it’s got me thinking back to my high school years, when original run debuted. My circle of friends and I gravitated towards David Lynch’s surreal, suspense-filled, cinematic sense of scope, as we had never seen anything like it on network TV up until that time. Watching Twin Peaks turned into a ritual, and we often held viewing parties, where dressing up as a character, serving apple pie, and other show-themed treats became common occurrences.
Winnipeg art rockers Viewing Party recently released On, a record loosely connected by the band’s shared love of television (the medium) that plays on the influence of Television (the band), Bowie, Nick Cave, and other musicians with a flair for the melodramatic and a penchant for creativity. Samples of vintage TV programs frame Viewing Party’s off-kilter, post-modernist pop songs. Opener “Prologue” is an exceptional example of this often-used aesthetic, blending the opening narration from 1950’s PSA educational film Habit Patterns(albeit as spoken in an oddly terrifying male voice) and the band’s woozy musical sensibilities. The television theme extends through “The Evening News”, a glammy, trashy romp, to the funeral organ filled “End Credits (78)”, an oddly satisfying coda to Viewing Party’s bizarro musical adventure.
The endless stream of entertainment options available to us makes filtering out first-rate content a challenge. To paraphrase The Boss, there’s millions of channels out there, but it’s next to impossible to find something as on point and engaging as Viewing Party’s On.