Muneshine and Ghettosocks are Twin Peaks. (Photo: Kelly Clark ƒotography)

Album Review: Twin Peaks - Kissing Hands & Shaking Babies

Mainstay Canadian emcees Ghettosocks and Muneshine team up and pay homage to David Lynch’s body of work.

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Some of the songs below contain explicit language. The views expressed in them do not represent UNews.

Twin Peaks is a collaborative project between Halifax’s Ghettosocks and Toronto’s Muneshine. Socks is a Nova Scotia College of Art and Design alum, a Juno nominee and an East Coast Music Award winner. Mune is co-founder of the Wax Reform music collective and a Society of Composers award winner. Both function as emcees and producers. Kissing Hands & Shaking Babies is the duo’s debut album, having dropped on Nov. 9 after an EP and two singles. It was released under the Droppin’ Science imprint, a small record label and artist co-op based in Halifax.

The album includes guest vocals by Toronto’s Juno-nominated D-Sisive, Shuanise, and Socks’ Teenburger collaborator Timbuktu, as well as production credits from Toronto’s Bix, Rich Kidd, Suff Daddy, M-Phazes, DJ Grouch and Halifax’s Jorun Bombay. With combinations like this, the Twin Peaks project is sure to become a hallmark of Canadian hip-hop, regardless of sales. 

The group’s name and much of their music is inspired by Lynch’s short-lived but critically acclaimed television series Twin Peaks. There are also specific references to two of Lynch’s films, Wild at Heart and Blue Velvet. Tarantino gets the occasional nod as well. 

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Album artwork by Ghettosocks.

Track List

The Kissing Hands & Shaking Babies cover art, designed by Ghettosocks, is a throwback pop-culture collage that includes tiny images of the Atari and VHS logos, cassette tapes, a roll of film, Darth Vader’s helmet, boom boxes, vinyl records and profiles of several of the lead actresses in Twin Peaks. 

It’s comparable to Twin Peaks’ lyrical content. As Muneshine states early on in ‘Perfect Strangers’: “Outdated, you say? True say / If the reference ain’t current, that’s the purpose - touché.” 

This is intelligent if not hedonistic bravado rap laced with pop-culture references and backed by smooth, hard-hitting production echoing hip hop’s early-'90s golden era. The album, like Lynch’s work, is both comical and dark, simultaneously at times. This is the nightmare to the colourful daydream that is Socks’ Treat of the Day album. 

Kissing Hands & Shaking Babies is a vanity project of sorts. Socks and Mune aren’t trying to please anybody but themselves on this record. As independent musicians, they recognize that making a living from album sales is as much a thing of the past as Jheri curls. 

“No taste - straight, no chase - no longer rap for the fans ‘cause they play, don’t pay,” raps Muneshine on ‘Just Say No.’

They’re investigating territory they haven’t quite treaded before, testing deeper and darker waters. Working outside their solo careers and other collaborative projects, they wholeheartedly indulge in fantasy, surrealism and nostalgia. 

Socks transitions naturally from contemporary post-millennium references to those dating back to ’84 and beyond: “Bad Santa, Billy Bob, against Jian Gomeshi / knock his lights out and spend all that loot on some Pepsi / Nintendo gat-raps, your squad’ll get crushed, son / I’m laughing at your aim like the doggie from Duck Hunt.”

Mune complements Socks’ calculated pop-culture junkie raps, but goes easier on the references, putting a different spin on rap-nerd tropes: “Talk to the hand, the face turn / I got a Jones for the darkness like James Earl, and I stay thorough / The same nerd stay non-believers / The same herd stay in church, pray to God and Jesus.” 

Eighties babies, hip-hop heads and Lynch fans alike will find something to appreciate in Kissing Hands & Shaking Babies. Those unfamiliar with Lynch’s work won’t pick up on half the references, but should be able to generally appreciate both the musical and lyrical execution of this record. Try bumping it while driving a vehicle at night this winter. 

Album Highlights 

‘Just Say No’ 

“Step up and feel the slap of a hundred hands, then tell me which part of ‘no’ you don’t understand.”

The album begins on an intense note with ‘Just Say No,’ which sees Socks and Mune asserting themselves over a profoundly hard-hitting yet ethereal beat produced by BoomBaptist of Austin, Texas. Halifax’s DJ Jorun Bombay provides the cuts. 

‘Just Say No’ was the initial single for the album. Watch the Blue Velvet inspired video below.

‘Perfect Strangers’ 

“Two individuals, four personalities, eight single females, sixteen fantasies.” 

A gorgeous instrumental produced by Toronto up-and-comer Rich Kidd backs this ballad to the eight female leads in Twin Peaks. A crooning hook accompanies Socks and Mune as they profess their adoration for these women and explain why they’d probably be worthy of them. 

‘The Black Lodge'

“Jeans stained burgundy worse than my fear, and out of the birch bark a curtain appeared.” 

In the Twin Peaks series, the Black Lodge is an extradimensional location in the forest inhabited by evil sprits. A darker, slightly warped beat by Rich Kidd backs the duo as they stitch together shadowy narratives describing what their experiencing of this nether world may be like, or whom they might encounter there. 

‘The Black Lodge’ is the most recent single from the album. Watch the psychedelic video below.

‘Audrey Horne’ 

“What you know about being 18? Sexually active, attractive and lean.” 

Another ballad, this time to a specific Twin Peaks female lead, the sultry Audrey Horne. The instrumental, produced by Toronto’s Bix, draws from R&B while staying grounded in percussion-heavy hip hop. Saidah Cici of Ain’t No Love sings the chorus and helps evoke an image of the vixen in question. 

‘Audrey Horne’ was the second single from the album. The video is a reinterpretation of a Twin Peaks diner scene featuring Horne (the video track differs slightly from the album version). Watch it below.

‘Live & Learn’

“Take what’s yours, chase that, live and learn - but wait in line and you might not get a turn.”

An encouraging meditation on the merits of ambition and the pitfalls of apathy. Socks and Mune celebrate their success to date over one of the album’s brighter, xylophone-tinged beats, produced by Muneshine. 

‘Heavy D’

“Lumberjack rap, red and black with the cap to match – you know the stats, taking over the map.” 

Kissing Hands & Shaking Babies was released the day after hip-hop pioneer Heavy D’s passing. Coincidentally, the album’s final track pays homage to him and bears his name. The track is a Droppin’ Science posse cut featuring D-Sisive, Timbuktu and Rich Kidd’s rapping half. It was produced by Socks and Mune with cuts by Toronto’s DJ Grouch.

Twin Peaks are currently headed west on the VIA Rail sponsored, coast-to-coast Train of Thought Tour with Timbuktu, Jeff Spec and Jon Deck

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