Somebody Loves the ’80’s
Confess is the sophomore album from Twin Shadow, also known as George Lewis Jr., a native of the Dominican Republic and Brooklyn transplant, who produced the album himself after releasing his debut album, Forget, (produced by Chris Taylor of Grizzly Bear) in 2010 and circumnavigating the nation on a festival circuit including Coachella, Sasquatch and Bonnaroo. If Confess is an exploration of anything, it’s an expression of unrequited love, of love bitterly lost, and another love—of the musical legacy of the ’80’s (just without the big hair).
The album’s opening track, “Golden Light,” introduces you to a host of hazy synths that seem to be coming in from a great distance, resembling the musical version of a man confronting his own mortality. Waves of sound roll and tumble, spilling into a catchy beat garnished with piano decrescendos and operatic background vocals with a big ’80s vibe. Amid layers of symphonic synth lines, “When the Movie’s Over” emerges as a futuristic ballad that wouldn’t sound out of place in the soundtrack to The Breakfast Club, building into a chorus replete with hauntingly high vocals and technologic melodies.
Twin Shadow’s strength lies in creating complex, multilayered songs rich in harmony that pulsate with an enveloping sonic atmosphere. “You Call Me On” starts off with a punk riff, steeped in distorted guitars, but builds into an expansive chorus that grips you in a tangled weave of melodies. Lewis achieves mastery of his art on “I Don’t Care” as well, eschewing heavy synths for a minimal blend of plucked guitar, bass strings and vocals underpinned by rising waves of synth, martial percussion and rich keys.
Confess rings true, for the most part, as a profession of forlorn lovesickness. But there are moments when the emotion feels contrived, too slick and manufactured. The single “Five Seconds” falls flat, as does “Run My Heart” and “The One.” Overall, though, Confess serves up a perfect blend of synth-pop and ’80s nostalgia.