When Twin Fantasy dropped seven years ago, Will Toledo of Car Seat Headrest was just 19 years old. The album, ambitious in its presentation was always meant to be re-recorded one day. This year that day came and Matador released a new and re-recorded version of the album, and it’s glorious. The themes of teen fun, sadness and misunderstanding fall all over the record with new compositions that make the songs pop and come to life in a whole new way. While it’s not the typical re-issue album that most people talk about, it’s definitely our favorite to drop this entire year.
The number one difference between the original album and this re-recorded version is production value. In the early days of the band, Toledo used whatever inexpensive recording process he could. With a label budget, the album can breath and thrive on its own merits, where the beauty of the tracks can flourish. This is most found on a couple of songs, starting with “Beach Life-In Death.” The song is a bit over the thirteen minute mark, and with the new version you don’t get bored with it. The song just works on so many levels, like a sonnet that has a defined beginning, middle and end.
This occurs again on the redone version of “Bodys.” The original version, linked here for comparative reasons, is the same song but more crude and in some ways, sounds less realized. With the new version, “Bodys” is the perfect indie pop track, utilizing mechanical sounding drums, honing the two guitars, and using the dual vocals to sound as if time escapes the listener and Toledo can just warp on and off the song. It’s the kind of track you wished you heard acts like Spoon and Animal Collective took heed of and started writing songs like it, because it’s definitely what they’ve seemed to want to sound like for so long.
Where Teens of Denial was a reflective look at what it means to be in your early twenties, Twin Fantasy is full of the misunderstandings of youth-sadness and depression, love and lust, friendship and foes-it’s all written in the words. With that said, some tracks like the piano and acoustic opening of “Sober to Death,” the meandering notes of “High to Death,” and the slow build to epic jaunts of “Famous Prophets (Stars)” take their time while holding your ears. The better production and more thought out scope of the album work better than the original, while their intentions are still felt like they were supposed to.
The album holds so many gems, it’s a body of work rather than a collection of songs. The pop influence on “Nervous Young Inhumans” mixed with eighties electro-pop aesthetics works on so many levels. The indie rock drive of “Cute Thing” keeps sticking with you even if you just hear a bar, that it proves that Toledo was onto something when he decided to re-record the album. These tracks are too good to stay in the lo-fi Bandcamp space as they were, and they deserve to get a rebirth with higher production values to make them shine like they were intended to.
You can stream the original Twin Fantasy on Bandcamp, as well as the new version. You can also stream the new version on all streaming platforms, you can purchase it from all digital storefronts, or you can purchase it in multiple formats, including a special edition double vinyl called Twin Fantasy (Mirror to Mirror) on white vinyl from Matador Records. Car Seat Headrest will be on tour beginning November 03 in Amiens, France at La Lune Des Pirates until March 02, 2019 in San Antonio, Texas at Paper Tiger. A complete list of their tour dates can be accessed here.
Image Credits: Photo Courtesy of Matador Records.