Car Seat Headrest’s newest release, ‘Twin Fantasy’ exudes angst, melancholy and carefully twists the mundane into thoughtfully beautiful lyrics. This visionary collection is a true labour of love by the American band, after being re-recorded and re-imagined. Drifting through themes such as love, loss and anxiety, “Give me Frank Ocean’s voice, and James Brown’s stage presence and I’ll be your rock god.” frontman Will Toledo contemplates, summing up his shortcomings. This album feels honest, raw, and painstakingly crafted.
The album opens with, ‘My Boy (Twin Fantasy)’ which introduces the diary-like narrative of the album. No longer limited by dated technology, this revisit allows for maximum impact. A wall of sound hits you about 3 minutes into ‘Beach Life-In-Death’, and it feels like a release of pent up angst. Screaming, “I don’t want to be schizophrenic” he’s stepping back into his teenage self, and unleashing the angst. Toledo’s use of the simple things in life create fantastic allusions to the complications of love, “Get more groceries, get eaten,” he whispers, as roaring guitars build up momentum.
“It was never a finished work,” Toledo said, “and it wasn’t until last year that I figured out how to finish it.” With the help of a bigger budget, a full band in fine form, and endless time to tinker, the end result is phenomenal. The lyrics in the album seem so poignant, as they reflect self-doubt and insecurity in such an honest way. Pulling the album closer together, the re-written lyrics of ‘Nervous Young Inhumans’ epitomises this sense of uncertainty, the young and wounded Will is reached out to, and addressed by a wiser self.
Characterised by long narratives and short breaks in between, the album keeps you on your toes. ‘Famous Prophets (Stars)’ is a 16-minute journey made up of layering vocals, “I’m not gonna end up like a nervous wreck,” he states. Further into the song, the tempo is slowed down, it’s just two guitars complimenting each other bringing a moment of calmness, we’re given images of the ocean, and a steady build up to a breakthrough of blended guitars, and vocals bringing the song to a beautifully complex climax. It then takes a break, and it’s just Toledo and a piano, suddenly a wall of sound hits and pushes forward, closing with, “It’ll take some time, But somewhere down the line, We won’t be.”
Closing the album, ‘Twin Fantasy (Those Boys)’ captures the essence of the album, the carefully crafted lyrics, the meticulous combination of guitars and synths. The result oozes insecurity, confusion and angst. This honest and uncompromising reflection of teenage uncertainty and self-doubt feels like Toledo’s reflection on his younger self, re-imagined and now guided by and older, enlightened self.
The albums full track listing is …
01. My Boy (Twin Fantasy)
02. Beach Life-In-Death
03. Stop Smoking (We Love You)
04. Sober to Death
05. Nervous Young Inhumans
07. Cute Thing
08. High to Death
09. Famous Prophets (Stars)
10. Twin Fantasy (Those Boys)