Car Seat Headrest - Twin Fantasy
Bandcamp heavy weight Will Toledo AKA Car Seat Headrest is back following up 2016’s acclaimed Teens of Denial, not with a brand new collection of songs but instead with a rerecording of his cult followed lo fi classic Twin Fantasy seven years after its initial release. Twin Fantasy as an album was pretty much Car Seat Headrest big break. It instantly became a legend among the ranks of the lo fi bandcamp scene through large amounts of support on various internet platforms, eventually bringing forth a record deal that would overtime increase the quality of recording in their later music. This combined with how great, ambitious, and well received Teens of Denial turned out it makes perfect sense to not only give back a little to the fans but also prove that the album can be done even better with more resources.
The album as a concept follows Will’s narration through his infatuation and relationship with another man, along with all of the depression and failure that came with it. The songs wittily capture the angst and cynicism of this relationship in such a poetic way that truly showcases how far he has come as a musician since the original recording. The song Beach Life-In-Death for example is a thirteen minute epic showing emotions from sheer lust for this person (“I wrote "Beach Death" when I thought you were taken, I wrote "Beach Funeral" when I knew you were taken”) to the utter coldness of the self hatred and depression that comes with all of this (“It should be called anti-depression, as a friend of mine suggested, because it’s not the sadness that hurts you, it’s the brain’s reaction against it”). Beyond that the song Cute Thing is a much more adorable tale in regards to longing and showing affection, some of the lyrics even being changed from the previous incarnation to reflect Will’s more recent musical inspirations, talking about wanting “Frank Ocean's voice” and “James Brown’s stage presence” lamenting “I will be your rock, God” a line that actually completely changes meaning whether or not you decide to interpret it having a comma or not. There are many additional cases of subtle yet brilliant songwriting layered through this project such as shared lyrics through many tracks referencing not just other songs on Twin Fantasy but also even other Car Seat Headrest albums which really just enhances the experience of immersing yourself in this story.
On top of the lyrical and musical content that made it so great in the first place, Twin Fantasy does exactly what it should as an updated version of such a beloved piece of art in the sense that it’s pretty much an improvement all around. The updated production while compromising a large amount of that initial lo fi value initially packed with, brings in a new found sense of accessibility. This and other changes really help both products maintain their individuality despite being the basically the same album which is what we should want from an artist revisiting a beloved and personal project from such a long time ago. Whichever version you prefer, it’s an experience from beginning to end I can’t recommend enough.