Car Seat Headrest’s Twin Fantasy: Guitar Music Still Can Be This Good

Photo: Matador Records

This is something which indie-rock band in the 2000s would produce. Will Toledo, the frontman, has successfully resurged its vibe with the classic combination: guitar riffs and distortion, which mostly have been replaced with the mix of soft keyboard-produced sound and guitar.

“My Boy (Twin Fantasy)” serves as the opener with its calm to loud build-up. I think this is the characteristic of Toledo’s which embedded in every song on the album, he managed to deliver it differently from track to track, makes it unique and powerful. “Beach Life-In-Death” contains many distinctive guitar riffs with little repetition. The drum work on this song also deserves attention, hurdling with a fast tempo and uncanny transitions. The song is the longest track on the album (13:18) but I can guarantee you won’t skip this track when you listen to the whole album. There is one acoustic song on the album which is “Stop Smoking (We Love You)”. Toledo performs it with only his voice and acoustic guitar playing, making it simple yet still sounds good.

“Bodys” becomes my favorite track because of its structure. Toledo sings each chorus differently, in the first one he sings only a part of it and in the second one he adds a companion lyric which will he often combine it in live performance, making the chorus feels more alive. Also, the guitar riff here reminds me of The Strokes’ first album era. The other Toledo’s characteristic of his song is a transition, it’s like combining two songs into one. He’s done it smoothly in “Cute Thing”, comes as loud as it can be, yet it also complemented with a 60’s-influenced melody in the middle. Then, he makes it slow near the end of the song, repeating its melody with various style of singing. “Sober to Death” has the same ending structure, with the same build-up as the opener. The delivery of the chorus is powerful, accompanied with solid vocal harmony. The closing track, “Twin Fantasy (Those Boys)” ends the album peacefully.

Photo: Heather Kaplan

Here are some fun facts: Will Toledo originally self-released this album in the 2011 and includes all the songs from 2011 version in the re-released version (February 2018). The massive difference is in the quality of the song, all of the songs in the 2011 version were produced in lo-fi. I think this is a diligent move by Car Seat Headrest, they successfully made their old songs as fresh as it could be. This album also shows that they have found their own sound for a long time ago because of the varied musical structures, riffs, and build-ups.

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