Twin Shadow, the Brooklyn-based new-wave artist groundly known as George Lewis Jr, releases his second studio album Confess (4AD) on July 10th. Apparently this album was inspired by Lewis Jr’s motorcycle rides in Los Angeles after a long hiatus following an accident. Twin Shadow’s debut album, Forget, saw supreme success in 2010, and although this follow-up doesn’t disappoint, it lacks many elements necessary to pierce through ears collecting vast amounts of music.
Over the past 5-odd years, brushing 1980′s synth-pop has been redubbed as “dream pop,” a term that fits a new generation – with more prominent bass though, please. Twin Shadow makes this adjustment, which differentiates him from fellow dream-poppers Beach House and Youth Lagoon (among other things too). Generally these bands set well to daydreaming, nostalgic contemplations, inspirations and revelations.
Confess instead struts the drums of Phil Collins, the synths of Journey and the voices of Robert Smith and Morrissey. It offers layers and fairly complex arrangements, opening strong with “Golden Light” and following with a crowded “You Can Call Me On.” The third track “Five Seconds” was released early alongside a music video of Lewis riding his motorcycle and brawling in the forest. It’s a strikingly beautiful raw clip, based on Lewis Jr’s own novel “Night of the Silver Sun.” Lewis is certainly creating something awesome with this track, and thanks to the soundtrack of Drive, his popularity is most likely received by a wider audience.
As for the remaining seven tracks on Confess, the style format continues at level, but more noticeably each track blends together in a continuous habit of polite progressions; echoing synth, prominent drums, poppy vocals, double-step beats, repeat. “I Don’t Care” is an exception, with its refreshing tribal grunt beats over Lewis’s ballad voice. This song displays an ingenuity that Lewis Jr. seemed to have misplaced over majority of the album’s arrangement. “Be Mine Tonight” features a bonus track entitled “Mirror in the Dark,” which is equally as lovestruck, closing the album with a sexier, more intimate finish.
This is by no means a bad or even unsatisfactory album. The production is superb and the aforementioned components are upbeat, interesting and current. Although the tracks can be enjoyed and praised for these qualities, the album as a whole seems to be lacking the edge that’s necessary to stand out among the masses of new wave/electro-pop musicians. Confess is solid but not shining; wet but not juicy. Perhaps the high-production sound of the tracks cramped an original George Lewis Jr. charm. Maybe he’s waiting for the inspiration to produce an entirely unique album. Whatever the case, Confess is a solid listen, as long as you’re not expecting too many stand-out singles or musical leaps.
Twin Shadow - Confess tracklist:
- “Golden Light”
- “You Can Call Me On”
- “Five Seconds”
- “Run My Heart”
- “The One”
- “Beg for the Night”
- “When the Movie’s Over”
- “I Don’t Care”
- “Be Mine Tonight”