It seems like nowadays, you throw a label on a band, give them a bit of hype, and sure enough, it usually works out for the band, deserving or not. Finally, we’ve come to a band in 2010 who deserve this adoration, Twin Shadow. While a great bit of Forget is dominated by electronic textures, there’s this underlying attention to details that equips the album with layer after layer of pure beauty. Even when things don’t seem to fit altogether, somehow it’s tied in neatly, crafting one hell of a debut.
You walk right into a hint of synthesized darkness, mild beats, creating something of a somber sensation, just as George Lewis Jr. makes his first appearance. Hidden behind the instrumentation, or barely intruding, Lewis’ vocals evoke that Murray Lightburn feel, warm and affecting. There’s all these odd touches of instrumentation, crafting something wonderfully unique, all as the song works its way towards a bliss-filled ending.
Everything about the way Lewis and Grizz Bear chap Chris Taylor built Forget makes it one of the most rewarding listens on this side of pop music. “Shooting Holes at the Moon” jumps off with this groovy little work on the drums, then there’s some throbbing bass rhythm added in, along with all sorts of hints of string work in the background. It’s all about the funk, yet as Lewis jumps in to join the party, he brings a suave element, giving the song a bit of a house party feeling, if that party was full of sweet tunes. Those little guitar short shots in the background just make the element of electronics just rise above your typical cliched laptop band. This is precisely where these sorts of bands should live; they should aspire to be Twin Shadow.
Seriously, “Yellow Balloon” recalls those late nights spent in dingy dancehalls with your friends, while whiskey poured from the bar. And yet Lewis still wants you to do your thing, he just wants to add a touch of class, which usually comes by way of his soulful voice and the various textures. Easily this could disappear as just another chillwaved track, but the fact that you can decipher the real instruments, brings this jam into the forefront. Don’t forget the delivery of Lewis when he coos “the secret handshakes/the swimming hole/keep awake.” So right on. Twin Shadow easily could border on the line cheesy, yet you have to return time and time again to the craft of the songwriting. “Slow” has this Edge-influenced guitar line that runs in the background, which definitely harkens back to an era of innocent electronic music, but instead of sticking with his clean polished vocals, George decides to throw an echo-y yell in the background of the chorus. He’s challenging our conceptions, or rather challenging us to go back to the days of refreshing club hits.
Forget had the potential to fall flat on its face, a victim of its own hype. But, George Lewis Jr. wasn’t going to let that happen, choosing to create music that he thought was both beautiful and fun. In his pursuit, he created an album that rises above the doldrums of your everyday electronic music, providing us with our first vision of what Twin Shadow is really all about. After listening to this record, we’re all about what ever Lewis and company are all about, especially if sounds this ridiculously good.
Download: Twin Shadow – Yellow Balloon [MP3]