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Since 2010’s Forget, Twin Shadow—the brainchild of George Lewis Jr.—has found another gear. In Confess, Lewis’ has developed, diversified, and found a sound than was never present in his debut. The album opens with the totemic ‘Golden Light’, powerful drums and synths which give way to heavily distorted guitars in the next track. The combined effect immediately creates distinctions from his previous work.
Thematically, Confess is a darker, angrier album and the new more abrasive aesthetic matches this well. This can perhaps be attributed to Lewis’ self-production, leaving behind the soft touch Grizzly Bear’s Chris Taylor applied to his debut.
Lewis revealed some inspiration for the album came from surviving a motorcycle crash in 2004, and this near-death experience seems to have provided him with the arrogant, devil-may-care attitude with which he approaches the relationships on Confess. On ‘You Can Call Me On’, a brusque power-piece, he retorts “but I don’t give a damn about your dreams” and in ‘Five Seconds’ he taunts “I don’t believe in you…So how could you make me cry”. When ‘Run My Heart’ finishes with the line “And I don’t owe you nothing“, it’s an early capping of independence and self-assuredness, a recurrent theme throughout the album.
However, through the braggodocio he lets us see elements of his humanism. In ‘I Don’t Care’, a song about the infedelities of a lover, he is acutely self-aware of his predicament and his emotions yet struggles with the facade he presents: “I will say three words/I probably meant the first two/And regret the third”. He often reconciles his subjects in a way not wholly removed from The Weekend or Frank Ocean, a skeletons out of the closet approach which is definitely in vogue for musicians today.
Overall, Confess is a more difficult listen than Forget both lyrically and sonically. Lewis’ has incorporated the ‘80s elements which have become his trademark, while finding a new, aggressive direction which keeps his sound fresh. While sophomore albums often struggle, Confess is a worthwhile listen and an exciting extension on Lewis’ prior work.