From its first reverb-laden guitar notes, Bnny’s new Everything (Fire Talk) makes me wonder whether the Chicago band have logged some hours watching Twin Peaks. The hushed, ethereal whisper of vocalist and songwriter Jess Viscius channels dream-pop singer Julee Cruise (who sings on the show’s soundtrack), while guitarists Adam Schubert and Timothy Makowski lean into the spooky, echoing, and despairing rockabilly of crooners such as Roy Orbison and Chris Isaak beloved by director David Lynch. The album grapples with the 2017 death of Viscius’s partner, indie-rock musician Trey Gruber, at age 26, and songs such as “August” are swept with the stark, bleary half-light of grief. “Some people never change / But I’ll change one day,” she sings—a comfortless promise to make to a loved one lost, or to their memory. “Blind” locks into a slightly less ethereal though no less languid groove; bassist Alexa Viscius (Jess’s twin sister) and drummer Matt Pelkey provide a shuffling lope while Jess muses, “You remind me that love doesn’t always find a way.” By comparison, “Time Walk” almost rocks; the drums come further up in the mix and the guitars sting with rockabilly energy, leading into a distorted, Chuck Berry-style solo. At 94 seconds, the track is over fast, and then the album sinks back into its Angelo Badalamenti fugue. Contrary to its title, Everything doesn’t travel far from its obsessions. Though Bnny only really explore one haunted landscape, they know it—and its ghosts—well.
Bnny, Squirrel Flower (solo), Divino Niño (DJ set), Thu 9/2, 9:30 PM, Empty Bottle, 1035 N. Western, $10, 21+