in The premiere of Twin Peaks 2017 ended with a haunting performance by a dreamy ’80s-inspired band called the Chromatics — here’s what you need to know about them.
Showtime debuted the first two hours of Twin Peaks: The Return Sunday night, which featured director David Lynch doubling down on the original series’ horror and dread. One of the premiere’s few lighter moments occurred in the final scene, with the Chromatics performing their song, “Shadow,” at the Roadhouse bar as we saw familiar faces from the original.
The lyrics of “Shadow” resonate with the themes of Twin Peaks and particularly this return. The song features lead singer Ruth Radelet cooing about wanting her shadow to take her down with her. Band member Johnny Jewel explained the meaning of “Shadow” when the song was first released in 2015.
Everyone has a shadow. There is no real difference between ten years ago and ten seconds ago. Your future determines your past. The flame of nostalgia is a tempting black hole to jump into, but I recognize it as a fantasy.”
Avid Twin Peaks watchers will recognize many of the themes in this statement, with the show’s focus on nostalgia and fantasy mixing with darkness and shadows. The Twin Peaks: The Return premiere even features the One-Armed Man (Al Strobel) asking Dale Cooper (Kyle MacLachlan) in the Black Lodge, “Is it future or is it past?”
The Chromatics’ dreamy song is also in keeping with the original Roadhouse singer, Julee Cruise. Cruise was prominently featured sporadically throughout the series, singing songs like “The Nightingale,” “Rockin’ Back Inside My Heart,” “The World Spins” and “Falling,” a.k.a. the theme from Twin Peaks. She is also slated to appear in Twin Peaks: The Return.
So who are the Chromatics? The band was formed in 2001 in Portland, Ore. Guitarist Adam Miller is the sole original member, with vocalist Ruth Radelet, producer Johnny Jewel, and drummer Nat Walker joining in later years. The band has released four studio albums (two with the new lineup), including Chrome Rats vs. Basement Rutz in 2003, Plaster Hounds in 2004, Night Drive in 2007 and Kill for Love in 2012. They have also released five EPs: Cavecare in 2002, Nite in 2006, In Shining Violence in 2007, In the City in 2010 and Running from the Sun in 2012.
The Chromatics have recorded synth-y, slowed down covers of many famous songs, including Cyndi Lauper’s “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun,” Neil Young’s “Into the Black,” Kate Bush’s “Running Up That Hill” and Bruce Springsteen’s “I’m on Fire.” Their songs have been featured in a number of movies and TV shows, including Lost River, for which Johnny Jewel composed the score, while “Tick of the Clock” has appeared in Drive and Taken 2.
The Chromatics are slated to put out a new album called Dear Tommy, on which “Shadow” is expected to appear. The band’s manager, Alexis Rivera, revealed earlier this year that Jewel almost died in Hawaii in 2015 and subsequently destroyed all the copies of Dear Tommy.
“Christmas day 2015, Johnny almost died in Hawaii,” Rivera revealed in early May. “When he came back home to California he destroyed all copies of Tommy. 15K CDs & 10K vinyl in the Italians warehouse in Glendale, all gone.”
The album has since been re-recorded, though a release date has yet to be revealed.
It remains to be seen if the Chromatics will appear in future episodes of Twin Peaks: The Return.
Twin Peaks: The Return airs Sundays at 9 p.m. ET/PT on Showtime. For those who are impatient for more, Part 3 and Part 4 are currently available on Showtime’s on-demand apps, while they will air on the cable channel next Sunday.
[Featured Image by Suzanne Tenner/SHOWTIME]