Car Seat Headrest - Twin Fantasy (2018) Album Review

Story posted February 20, 2018 in Arts & Entertainment, CommRadio by By Jenna Minnig

In 2011, 19-year-old Will Toledo of Car Seat Headrest wrote ten songs filled with teenage angst and coming of age as a young man in society, and uploaded this humble recording to Bandcamp titling it Twin Fantasy. Now seven years later, the band has decided to visit the past and rework this early creation. Toledo told Rolling Stone in January that he always had plans to revisit Twin Fantasy. People grow and feelings change, and while many dedicated Car Seat Headrest fans might argue the band tried to fix something that was never broken in the first place, this reproduction of the cult classic has allowed Toledo to achieve his vision in greater clarity.

The band was able to focus their efforts on the production quality of the album, improving the recording quality as compared to the version recorded by Toledo on an old laptop years ago. By re-recording in hi-fi, there is now a greater focus on the instrumental aspects. While the lo-fi quality of the original version is a critical part of what makes it special, offering a new take with greater focus on the instrumentals doesn’t take away from the original and instead helps the album feel like a new work in and of itself. Lyrically the album has stayed mostly consistent, exploring the emotional rollercoaster inside Will Toledo’s teenage brain.

In addition to being at a different stage in life than he was in 2011 and the opportunity to record this album with better production, Toledo is now joined by three additional performers and a number of producers. Instead of a solo project, Twin Fantasy is a collaboration, adding to its character. Each player brings something new to the album, especially on the 13-minute track, “Beach Life-In-Death.” Not only does this song impress musically, but also lyrically. Toledo sings about his mundane life and the struggles and confusions that come with being in a homosexual relationship at his age.

Twin Fantasy achieves a greater sounding record than Toledo’s original Bandcamp release. However, aside from the homosexual angle it takes in greater depth on this recording, the album struggles with going beyond the boundaries of what is seen in the indie music industry today. On Twin Fantasy, Car Seat Headrest fixates on the same ideas that drive the world of indie music; songs about being an angsty teenager who cannot find their place in society. Although their music is relatable and strikes an emotional core, this rework is no different than dozens of other top indie rock albums that have come before this one. Nevertheless, Twin Fantasy was able to revive its sound and become something indie music fans will enjoy. 

Car Seat Headrest have made an album where the focus was making an album perfect in the creator’s eyes. In truth, this album was fine as a solo album with a lo-fi recording. Yet Toledo knew that it always held more potential and deserved more than he could give it in 2011. With more resources and further developed lyrics, he succeeded in creating an album he was pleased with. Not only an album he was pleased with, but an album he has held onto and grown with over the past seven years.

Rating: 8/10

 

Jenna Minnig is a freshman majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact her, email at jkm5756@psu.edu.