By: Seth Stevens
The best part of Car Seat Headrest’s new (old) album, Twin Fantasy is that it manages to convert the mundane into the grandiose, and the grandiose into the mundane. This is most apparent on the 13-minute behemoth of a track “Beach Life-in-Death,” where the subject matter oscillates between trips to the grocery store, to (almost) coming out to his friends on Skype, to questions about unrequited love. And with the help of energetic guitar work, and Will Toledo’s masterful songwriting, not a single second of the 13 minutes is boring.
This album is a reworking of his 2011 record, the best in a spurt of six albums that Toledo self-released from 2010-14. The songs contain all of the urgency one would expect from a man who has written six albums in four years; they outrun their structures, they burst from the seams. They go overboard at every opportunity. And now he has the tools to push the songs as far as he wants to — a fully formed band and a professional recording studio, courtesy of Matador records.
That is not to say that Car Seat Headrest yells just for the sake of yelling. His energy is purposeful and sincere. Form mirrors content: he writes about desperation and depression, and how they intertwine, and what they create. They create unhealthy relationships and unkept promises; they create painful memories that you want to relish in. That is, in fact, what Will Toledo does when he returns to a seven year old album. He is returning to and revamping painful memories.
Toledo has brought Twin Fantasy back, most importantly, to find significance in seemingly trivial things. In this way he remains his teenage self — small moments and objects take on vital meaning. He sings in “Bodys”, “You got some nice shoulders / I’d like to put my hands around them.” When was the last time you admired a pair of shoulders? It is best exemplified in his moniker, Car Seat Headrest. It is an object we see all the time, but it doesn’t really register with us. In his struggle to understand the big picture of his life, Will Toledo finds comfort in the details.