Car Seat Headrest Risks Everything with ‘Twin Fantasy’
Will Toledo, the brains and voice behind Car Seat Headrest, is known for adapting older material for new albums. Teens of Denial, his breakout LP in 2016, launched Toledo further into the public eye. Many of those songs were written years before the album was recorded. Toledo took that creative strategy one step further with his new album, Twin Fantasy. The songs were not only written almost a decade ago, but he independently released a version of Twin Fantasy in 2011. The vision was to recreate the album seven years later with a brand new perspective. The outcome is a stunning showcase of Toledo’s evolution as an artist.
It is rare for an artist to follow their breakout album with a complete recreation of an older album. I’m sure Matador Records, their label, warned against this in the early genesis of Twin Fantasy. Toledo’s vision eventually trumped his doubters. He wanted to make sure the world didn’t overlook his 2011 release, so he decided to make it again. The album is what we have come to expect and love from Car Seat Headrest. “Stop Smoking (We Love You)” reminds me of “Drunk Drivers/Killer Whales” from Teens of Denial. It’s a simple tune that effectively communicates the desire to keep your friends safe. The simplicity and clarity of the lyrics and guitar help emphasize the honesty in Toledo’s message.
At first glance, this is a rock album and Car Seat Headrest is a rock band. When you dig deeper, Toledo’s style is less definable. Take “Bodys” for example, the genre bending sixth track on Twin Fantasy. It opens with a gritty electronic beat then soars into a high energy punk riff. The track closes sounding like a conventional rock song, only to end up in a different area than it started. The most impressive aspect of Car Seat Headrest’s ascension over the last five years is Toledo’s ability to innovate the rock sound.
In an era where rock musicians struggle to find relevance, Toledo found the secret to success in his elusive and expressive style. Take note children, this might be the future of rock n’ roll.