Twin Shadow: Confess

I recently noted here that Twin Shadow’s debut album Forget was a record greater than the sum its parts. It managed to combine so many elements of 80′s pop music, while creating and maintaining an identity of its own. The opposite is true of Twin Shadow‘s new release Confess, ultimately it is less than the sum of its parts.

The gauze-like sepia tinted production which gave Forget an understated charm is replaced by 80′s bombast and sheen. This need not have been a bad thing, but here almost every track is polished to within an inch of its life, and many do not survive. While this production was ubiquitous on the biggest albums of the 80′s, be they rock or pop, Springsteen or Prince, their songwriting could wear such embellishment well. Sadly this is not true of much of Confess, which suffers from a glut of adornment and a deficit of quality songwriting.

This is not to say that the entire album is bereft of quality. The first two tacks, Golden Light and You Call Me On get the balance right, and the studio histrionics serve the songs, rather than the otherway round. Lead single Five Seconds is equally great, all chorus New Wave power pop. But from here on the album looses its way, almost irrevocably, culminating in the rot your teeth it’s so sweet Be Mine Tonight, with its unforgivable X-Factor style key change outro. Lyrically George Lewis Jr paints himself as a brash bad boy. He may think this makes him appealing, and maybe it does to some, but it also makes his songs irritate and grate rather than soothe and excite.

Hidden track Mirror In The Dark offers some last minute redemption, and is possibly the best track on here. Perfectly paced soulful and propulsive R&B lends the track some real clout, rather than unnecessarily weighing it down. It is also a closing reminder of what Twin Shadow is capable of, that is when he not overly distracted by studio knob polishing.

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