The second Twin Shadow LP delivers impressively high-octane pop with an icy heart.
Hari Ashurst 2012
On the cover of Confess, George Lewis Jr aka Twin Shadow stands aloof in dim light, his leather jacket torn and rugged. He looks like the sort of guy you wouldn't want your daughter hanging around with – and if Confess is anything to go by then that gut feeling would be a smart one.
While his 2010 debut Forget traded in gentle, slight melodies and obfuscation, there's nothing indirect at all here. Instead, Lewis' sonics are masculine and upfront, while his lyrics are strung together with sly digs and cruelties.
If the polar shift from one LP to the next wasn't clear enough, Lewis vocalises as much on Five Seconds when he shouts: “There's no way to forget it all.” He brushes aside the title, and the ethos of Forget, in a second and then backs it up all over the record.
Take Run My Heart, for instance. It’s a song that finds Lewis intent on ring fencing his heart – "You don't run my heart / So don't pretend you can" – before finally spelling it out: "Can't you see I'm not in love?"
For all the coldness, though, Confess is an easy record to listen to and love. Lewis has clearly grown as a songwriter – a song like The One feels like it might have been beyond him a couple of years ago. The light, preppy touch in the bass and guitar feels assured, while the brevity in the writing helps boost Lewis' hooks to the level they deserve.
Beg for the Night is another highlight. The track allows space to open up around another big chorus and super-sizes its masculine vibes by deploying a revving motorcycle engine for percussion.
For an artist often lumped in with chillwave it might come as a surprise to some that Confess is so bold and honest. There's no dream-pop pussyfooting from Lewis this time; instead, he leaves himself nowhere to hide as he pushes his character to the absolute limit.
This approach makes for a Twin Shadow record that might be brutal at times but also smarts with impressively high-octane pop.