Twin Shadow: Forget
Fans of Morrisey, The Cure, monstrous and super creepy Bowie, rejoice. This is the debut album of George Lewis Junior. Born in the Dominican Republic, raised in Florida, he wrote music for a touring dance company before becoming the melancholic entity that is Twin Shadow. His songs sport 16-bit samples, midi sounds, and laconic bass runs, backgrounding his soulless voice, a channelling of gothic greats like Bauhaus’ Peter Murphy, and the Bunnymen’s Ian McCulloch. His drums are digital. His grooves are new wave.
This is an album meant to be listened in order; there’s a clear emotional arch throughout the record. The lyrics tell stories of broken loves, the lingering leftover reminiscences that have slowly deteriorated Lewis into an emotionless apparition, a cognitive collection of memories that wishes for nothing more than banishment. His words haunt some hidden electric forest full of florescent tones reverberating off hollow fallen tree trunks.
The record begins slowly, with the tracks Tyrant Destroyed and When We’re Dancing. Both tracks ease you gently into Twin Shadow’s world of unrequited or ill-fated romances. They are slow reminiscent songs that recall the Cocteau Twins. You drift into Lewis’ bittersweet stories, lulled into the sadly sublime statements of his opening choruses. The lyrics to the first song tell of a girl who is determined not to be fooled by any more dark boys, the presumable tyrants, only to be visited by another one who may be Mr. Lewis himself. If so, he masochistically approves of his own defeat. Monsters live in his lines, in the form of lovers, with some who keep hidden escape plans and others who lash out in angry passion, leaving the vocalist stuck with maudlin memories and mournful moments haunting his mind.
The depressive-reflective dance scenes start on the third track I Can’t Wait, whose lyrics have the singer holding himself lonely till June, the time when sour memories of the past year are quieted and other doomed loves take their place. Time is a fixation for Twin Shadow, time and the distortions dramatic romance can make, and the time it takes to forget them. But the enslaving dance rhythms of these songs help time move much faster. From there the album continues pace through sad reminiscent lyrics over 80‘s keyboards and calm hooky bass lines.
For Now is the most nostalgia inducing track on the album. Its introduction explodes off into a very Bowie Let’s Dance beat, altered just enough to stand on its own. Throughout, Lewis fades in and out heavily distorted Van Halen trills akin to the guitar solos on Scary Monsters (and Super Creeps), but this song maintains its originality with the addition of midi Stereolab-esque spirals of sound spinning throughout. The following penultimate track is the single Slow, an amazing 80’s dance song so catchy it distracts from the sorrow of the lyrics that evoke Chris Isaak’s elegiac Wicked Games:
I don’t wanna believe, but be in love.
I don’t wanna be, believing in love.
Lewis’ anguish has allowed him to create something beautiful. I gladly admit some sadistic pleasure from his pain.
5 outta 5.