George Lewis Jr. claims his sophomore record as Twin Shadow, called Confess was inspired by a motorcycle accident he had in Boston. So far, he’s released two videos for the album. They are thematically connected and both involve motorcycles (and are both based on a novel, written by Lewis himself). On the front cover of the album, Lewis has is decked out in a classic leather jacket and gives us his best James Dean impression. All of it is connected, though. The character that Lewis has created with Twin Shadow is a casanova lost in the 80s who doesn’t know what to make of love. Forget made him out to be a jaded antihero of sorts, telling stories in the past tense and looking forward with cynicism. But Confess is a diary for the highway. It’s a mixture of exploits and adventures – It’s Rebel Without A Cause directed by John Hughes. And ultimately, it’s everything that Lewis loves in one divine little package.
Musically, Confess is an expansion of what we saw on Forget. Produced by Chris Taylor of Grizzly Bear, Forget matched Lewis’s 1980s drum machines and melodies with really sparse textures that kept the record from exploding on your stereo. The mix on Forget took songwriting that demanded loud speakers and fast cars and placed it gently on the quiet record player in your living room. But with Confess, Lewis handles all the production himself, and the result is everything that Twin Shadow fans could hope for. I mean, seriously. Just listen to “Run My Heart” and tell me you don’t get goosebumps like the first time you heard Springstein’s “I’m On Fire.” Tracks like “The One” and “Five Seconds” capture an epic driving sound that hasn’t been matched since the mid 1980s. Others, like “You Call Me On” and “Patient,” host epic nu wave dance rock a la New Order and Simple Minds, and “Beg For The Night” may be the most danceable song Twin Shadow has ever made. But more than anything else, the sound of Confess communicates a massive sense of longing for something greater than jaded love and an endless search for the comforts of the night.
But much like Forget, the meat of Twin Shadow’s new work comes in its lyrics. Confess is an epic narrative, depicting Lewis as lover with commitment issues who is wary about the intentions of his romances. The songs alternate between broken and confused introspection and a calling out to something more on the open road. I don’t want to spoil too much – Confess is better understood and experienced through a full album listen. Lewis will break your heart only to put it back together again, and Confess is a grandiose documentation of the thrills and chills of the chase. Eight tracks in, Lewis foreshadows “I’ll cry when the movie’s over.” So will you, dear listener… so will you.
Confess is a phenomenal record by one of the great storytellers of our time. Confess is out now on 4AD Records. You can grab it on CD and LP now. Twin Shadow will be at Capitol Hill Block Party this year, playing on the main stage Saturday at 6:00pm. Grab your tickets here!