Twin Shadow, ‘Confess’ – Album Review
George Lewis Jr. is trouble. The man that records as Twin Shadow shows a certain muscled moodiness, a combination of self assurance and self destruction, vulnerability and invincibility, adding up to a gentlemanly, megalomania animating ‘Confess.’
That’s him all handsome and tragic on the cover of the album, a leather jacketed combination of James Dean, Prince and Kanye West. It’s in those last two icons of decadence that Lewis is referencing and combining here -- with a sound heavier than his flowing first. The themes here are love and sex and night and games, repeated and reshuffled (to the point that the Washington Post called out indie critics for saying it's good) -- to what is a powerful effect. Rare is a work so intensely popular -- we’ve already heard it played all the way through at a packed Brooklyn bar and the thing hadn't even come out yet -- while also being intimate, in a slightly creepy, slightly charming sort of way.
The dude can get absolutely gigantic -- the opening ‘Golden Light’ is a New Wave/disco dance floor conflaguration, sounding like the color of a city’s light-polluted night sky. The Times Square screened ‘Five Seconds’ has that same energy turned darker, coming out paranoid, predatory and sexual. Those descriptors could be attached to any song here, though that’s not a problem: ‘Run My Heart’ is full of galvanized recriminations, its chorus a howl of “I’m not in love / I’m just a boy, you’re just a girl.” A major Smiths stream comes through on ‘The One,’ a tangle of guitar strums and dripping synths, Lewis putting on his best Morrissey, crooning that he’s “in love with his memories.” A similar melody of melancholia powers ‘I Don’t Care,’ which has beautifully embittered lines like “Before the night is through I will say three words / I’ll probably mean the first two and regret the third.” Ladies, it seems you’d be best advised to stay away from Mr. Lewis -- he seems to be moth and flame all in one.
With great precision, ‘Confess’ fires off in a clean trajectory: the continually heartbroken artist continually breaking hearts. All that tumult adds up to a lethal dose of velveteen venom manifesting as some intense dance music.