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Twin Shadow – Forget
10 November 2010, 09:00 Written by Jamie Milton

George Lewis Jr. aka. Twin Shadow, from many people’s perception, lives on his own, writes on his own and records on his own. He is, from the demonstration of his music videos and the songs he writes, a man who suits isolation; living within his own parameters quite comfortably. But he’s been out of love. Add to that the fact that he’s a huge romantic, prone to obsessing over someone else. This much is frighteningly evident on Forget. I could tell you what he has for breakfast if you allowed me to keep listening to it for the next few months, but I’ve a review deadline, you see…

Forget feels like a shattering bottle of frustration; every sharp object in sight, thrown at the dartboard with vigor and desperation. Recorded under the guidance of Grizzly Bear’s Chris Taylor, it’s the product of years and years of musical projects, theatre appearances, cult uprisings. Occasionally, artists like Julian Casablancas to name as an example, find that going gung-ho, putting a decade’s worth of activity into ten songs and rolling the dice one too many times is the biggest fault of their first records. But not for Twin Shadow. This up-close account of the life and death of love, the Morrissey-like tale of sleeping and waking up on your own, doesn’t have any limits.

Sonically, much of the album is a re-creation of, or maybe even a homage to, 80′s New Wave. There’s a dabbling into the emotional pits of The Smiths but more poignant is a smooth, funk-and-synth blast of sophisticated pop. You can picture Curt Smith crying the words of ‘Mad World’ out from the other side of his window once more. The glossy, and notably diverse musicianship Lewis Jr. creates on his own is always contrasted to a thick, emotional backdrop. This is what makes his debut so very demanding and ultimately rewarding.

“Is there anything as quiet as a night alone/ with you?” he begs in ‘For Now’; in the restrained yet beautiful opener ‘Tyrant Destroyed’ he observes; “If it wasn’t enough just to hear you speak / they had to give you lips like that”. These lines have probably been quoted in every other review of the record, but they’re unarguably the ones that stick out the most and represent the record for what it is; a memo of the songwriter’s recurring sexual frustration. For every dramatic, swerving guitar solo that escapes from his stream of consciousness, you feel his heart muscles weaken, the occasional fluttering in the sight of a loved one, the sense of defeat in seeing him/her walk away.

And the pace at which this gradual sinking of mobility and psychological togetherness is expressed is exemplified by the 150b.p.m rush of ‘Slow’ and the funk-polish of ‘Shooting Holes’, compared to the sedated wave goodbye in the form of the title-track. He’s at a loss by the end. Forget is, when you think about it in that sense, a strikingly depressing record – one that’ll relate to many an unsuspecting listener. There’s no clichéd, Miley Cyrus-inspired climb, no silver lining – this is a diatribe on love, why we ought to leave it be and not let it find us. George Lewis Jr. might not dress or act like a novelist or a poet, but he’s as emotionally in-tune as the best of them.


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