It’s a tough mission to make the 80s cool again.
Sure, Degrassi Junior High and anything with John Hughes is safe territory, but navigating your way around the frizzy mullets, fluoro-lycra camel toes and terribly green-screened video clips can be highly treacherous.
Twin Shadow, aka George Lewis Jr, has dived deep into the decade and emerged with Confess – an album that distils the raw greatness of 80s. Not just the huge pop melodies, but the characteristic overblown melodrama that fuelled its songs and films.
Inspired a motorbike crash with his friend on board one winter, Lewis Jr. revealed, “I remember in that moment I wanted to say everything to him. How could I say everything in a split second? How could I bury my words in his heart?”
It’s theatrical and hyperromantic – every word is urgent, every decision is made inches from the highway – and Twin Shadow is its soundtrack.
Twin Shadow draws us in right from the start with ‘Golden Light’, the first few bars of warm synth like first sunlight creeping over the highway in the still of early morning, gradually building anticipation until the song peaks with commanding marching drums.
There are smattering of the decade’s influence throughout, ‘Run My Heart’ reminiscent of Springsteen’s ‘Dancing in the Dark’, while ‘The One’ smacks of Smiths-era Morrissey with the rhythmic style of George Michael’s ‘Faith’.
Although the spectres of his influences float from track to track, the songs are too strong and well-produced to feel entirely derivative.
The stand-out track, of course, is the blogged-to-death ‘Five Seconds’ – an explosive, highly-addictive track trembling with a dire life-or-death passion. The hook is deadly, the drums beat with the urgency of a virginal geek on prom night, and that gap of silence before the chorus breaks is right before the jock kisses her under the disco ball.
- Tacey Rychter
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