In the past week, the high temperatures in St. Louis have routinely been in the 106-110 degree range on a daily basis. I have lost power twice due to this onslaught, and am also on a minimum two-shower-per-day regimen. For the first time in my life I have turned down free Cardinals tickets simply because I don’t want to brave the results of Al Gore’s wrath for not heeding his ample warnings of climate change. I’m not sure it’s a coincidence that Twin Shadow’s sophomore album Confess emerged during the greatest heat wave I can remember in my lifetime. In fact, George Lewis Jr. (who is ostensibly Twin Shadow) may have made an album so hot it directly contributed a few degrees to the ever-rising heat indexes.
George Lewis Jr. has been quoted as saying Confess was inspired by a motorcycle accident he was involved in. I don’t doubt this statement, but he might have said a secondary influences Don Henley’s “The Boys of Summer”, the dramatics of Prince, Vintage Phil Collins and Peter Gabriel (but not necessarily Genesis), and the entire Top Gun soundtrack (not to mention the movie itself). Let’s focus for a second more on the sound that Lewis brings to the table, deftly mining the 80′s for the choicest bits he could find. Using guitars mostly to drive the synthesizer and for a bit of accent here and there, on the surface there is nothing overly complicated. But once you dig in a little more, you realize how densely layered many of the tracks are (for example “Beg For the Night”). It is real artistry to make songs so accessible with this much depth.
For some reason the 80′s were maligned throughout the 90′s and early 2000′s, but now artists like The Chromatics, M83, and Twin Shadow are just of the few of the acts proving the 80′s were cool. The difference between Confess and albums from The Chromatics and M83 is that Twin Shadow tracks are contained in a much easier to digest little package, without sacrificing anything artistically. There is nothing wrong with long songs, but every once in awhile, I like my albums to bust through 10-12 tracks that rarely break four minutes, throwing something new at me around every turn.
Before I wrap this review up, I need to explain my Prince comparison briefly. There is not much instrument-wise to support this comparison. The comparison comes completely from the attitude of self-assured badass-ed-ness that George Lewis Jr. packs into every corner of Confess. Just check out the video above as well as the album cover. The video for “5 Seconds” shows the same flair for the dramatic, rebel without a cause cockiness that Purple Rain did many years ago. Confess may not be one bit as sexually explicit as Prince, but there is a hard edge nevertheless.
If Twin Shadow’s 2010 album Forget can be described as a dream-like introduction to a promising new artist, then Confess takes those dreams to a fantastical and unpredictable new highs. See, dreams are much less controlled than waking fantasies, and George Lewis Jr. is completely in control of every lyrical theme, soaring synth, and hard-hitting kick drum on Confess.
Can’t Miss: “Golden Light”, “Patient”, “You Can Call On Me”, and pretty much everything else
Can’t Hit: “Be Mine Tonight”