Car Seat Headrest - Twin Fantasy
Feb 25, 2018 (updated Apr 6, 2018)
91
Twin Fantasy re-release stands the test of patience and audacity. With biblical boldness, it is every step beyond the original release relying on a revamped framework handled by post-modern, state-of-the-art studio techniques. After multiple listens, all tracks appear to tie up whatever unresolved loose ends Will Toledo’s relationships bore for him, emphasizing the so-needed fresh new aura to this album.

The most remarkable transformation takes place in Nervous Young Inhumans. What started as a regular lo-fi output became a versatile grip of power pop origins and dysphoric low-pitch guitar residues. Sober To Death is too applied a proper treatment with cranked-up tunes borne by stable leveling-off effects where the song breaks down a well though-out, repurposed mid pace, ultimately necessary to the build-up. The vocals are closely interwoven with plethoric segments that push for the poignant impetus to be achieved when just like that the instrumentals come apart as Will Toledo’s voice makes himself present for a final assertion - “Don't worry”, he sings, “You and me won't be alone no more” - followed by a surprising go-down. Some other tracks share this aspect, of progressing painfully repetitive and accessing the exit by elaborate schemes of self-indulgence, once the storm had passed and the damage been done. But when you least expect it, the next departure is more frequently than not hauled by supersonic travels through Toledo’s wanderings.

Cute Thing now counts with a satisfactory contrast of sparse and dense sections we couldn’t quite make out before, helped along by yelled background vocals and a percolating keyboard line peeking out here and there. High to Death plumps its obfuscating reverb but gains an abstracted sound-loop coda cooked out of Beach Life-in-Death formula. The reification of Beach Life, though I deem to conflict with its own stylistic disharmonizing, is still a glorious sprawl and comes through as half projection of an arena-size act. The bottomline is that you will like it, if you mind to erase any traces of its demo existence and pretend to listen to it for the first time - or simply acknowledge the agenda such track extends to the rest of the album.

The final tracks, Famous Prophets (Stars) and Twin Fantasy (Those Boys), have grown a likeable palette, though relative to one another Famous Prophets covers more ground in imagetic experience even, becoming in some degree more approachable than Twin Fantasy which remains cold and isolated, away in no-man's land – perhaps, an ever-fermenting appendage in the back of Will’s mind.

When I put the two recordings side by side, both Twin Fantasy versions, I fathom the latter is better than its original and somehow less ‘composit’ than its immediate predecessor, Teens of Denial, which I consider lodges inside the type of quality that foreshadows, or otherwise forges the way to a classic. In effect, it has not yet arrived, but has surely anchored its roots somewhere in the band’s architectural maze.

Discussing the record’s relevance, like many are doing - and possibly pointing that out to others -, takes us nowhere. It’s a tad useless to confront the referentials that demarcate and by which Car Seat albums are bonded ‘cause after all it lays on a matter of one’s decision to re-record an early work, which in the first place had probably sprouted from deep-rooted affection from its creator. In the end there are people arguing they liked one way the track was made -- but what about the other ones? And the overall effect? If it’s a question of emotional weight and accustomed taste, I can’t help you with that. The “old tape charm” is gone being replaced by a clean-headroom production and is sometimes highly disregarded by the re-working of the arrangements, to say the least. This piece of music is, however, brought up by an undivided stream of consciousness, an individual’s long-lasted yearning to salvage what could have become an in-the-Bandcamp-vault masterpiece. This intent alone may well make the case for restoring balance to indie rock statement.

Believe me, guys. Justice has been served. They’ve dropped the juice.
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