Wednesday, 10 November 2010
Twin Shadow – Forget (4AD)
‘This guy can’t be American’, is what I find myself thinking as I listen to the decidedly nomadic debut release from producer George Lewis Jr. a.k.a. Twin Shadow. It turns out the Eighties obsessed synth-master was Dominican born, later moving to Florida where he apparently soaked up not just the music of his own generation, but also that of the one before. Dance, disco, and dubstep can be found on Forget, backed up by hip hop beats and, at times, a more modern (and somewhat disappointing) indie-electro sound. It’s the culmination of a dozen different radio shows played in unison or a schizophrenic record collection, being held together only by the atmosphere of an era.
The maudlin opening to first track, Tyrant Destroyed, does little to prepare you for the rest of Forget. With strong hints of Saturdays=Youth era M83, and a vocal akin to a thunder-maker under water, it’s eerily beautiful. When We’re Dancing is a trilling pop-wail, reminiscent of Morrissey, surely capable of sound tracking a Brett Easton Ellis movie. I Can’t Wait is Destroyer-esque danceable misery with its rich monotone ‘Ian Curtis does Brit Pop’ vocals and spaced out synthlines. More current tracks At My Heels (joyous Asian-inspired fun) and Yellow Balloon are indie disco gems. Castles in the Snow is without doubt the best track on Forget, and probably one of the best dance tracks of the year (Yes I said dance). Unsurprisingly, there are already numerous re-mixes available online. The heavy dub-step beat and gothic vocal are layered with fragile synth lines and wandering bass. It’s masterful. For Now is all clever lyrics and stupid guitar (‘Is there anything as quiet as a night alone, with you?’). Last-dance-at-prom croon-fest Slow is driven forwards by raw emotion and tacky nostalgia, and only the sincerity of the track means it falls just short of a comedic replica.
The most enthralling parts of the album are when TS turns on the Numan and takes things darker. It’s the light as candyfloss electronica and silky vocals however, that grant the album the authenticity many heavily 80s-inspired releases cannot muster. The production is slick as fuck, thanks in part to Grizzly Bear’s Chris Taylor, who is credited with discovering the ‘bedroom artist’. The massively diverse range of genres and artists Twin Shadow lifts from to create Forget never make the album feel confused or compartmentalised. As single tracks though, I fear it would feel like a set of directions with a vital chunk missing. You’d get lost in it.
Words : Maya Boustany