Review: Car Seat Headrest's 'Twin Fantasy' Engages
Bandcamp heavy weight Will Toledo, AKA Car Seat Headrest, is back, following up the indie rock band’s 2016 acclaimed “Teens of Denial,” not with a brand new collection of songs but instead with a re-recording of his cultfollowed, lo classic, “Twin Fantasy,”seven years after its initial release.
“Twin Fantasy” as an album was pretty much Car Seat Headrest’s big break. It instantly became a legendamong the ranks of the lo bandcampscene, through large amounts of support on various internet platforms, eventually bringing forth a record deal that would, overtime, increase the quality of the band’s recording. This, combined with how well received “Teens of Denial” was, makes perfect sense to not only give back a little to the fans in this new release, but also prove that the album can be done even better with more resources.
The album as a concept follows Toledo’s narration through his infatuation and relationship with another man, along with all of the depression and failure that came with it. The songs capture the angst and cynicism of this relationship in such a poetic way that truly showcases how far Toledo has come as a musician. The song “Beach Life-In-Death” for example is a
13-minute epic showing emotions from sheer lust for this person (“I wrote “Beach Death” when I thought you weretaken, I wrote “Beach Funeral” when I knew you were taken.”) to the utter coldness of the self hatred and depres- sion that comes with all of this (“It should be called anti-depression, as a friend of mine suggested, because it’s not the sadness that hurts you, it’s the brain’s reaction against it.”).
Beyond that, the song “Cute Thing” is a much more adorable tale in regards to longing and showing affection, some of the lyrics even being changed from the previous incarnationto
reflect Toledo’s more recent musi- cal inspirations, talking about wanting“Frank Ocean’s voice” and “JamesBrown’s stage presence”, lamenting “I will be your rock, God” a line that actually completely changes meaning whether or not you decide to interpret it having a comma or not. There are additional cases of subtle yet brilliant song writing layered through this album.
On top of the lyrical and musicalcontent that made it so great in therst place, “Twin Fantasy” does exactlywhat it should as an updated version of a piece of art, in the sense that it’s pretty much an improvement all around.
The updated production, while compromising a large amount of thatinitial lo value initially packed within,brings in a new found sense of accessibility. This, and other changes, really helps both products maintain their individuality despite being the basically the same album, which is what we should want from an artist revisiting a beloved and personal project from such a long time ago. Whichever version you prefer, it’s an experience from beginning to end.