As Twin Shadow, George Lewis Jr. digs into the pop-friendly realm of blistering self-assessment where the only obvious method is to pump out insanely engaging, dance-friendly numbers. Throughout Confess, listeners aren’t sure whether to root for Lewis or hope he’ll just stop investing in unrequited love. Regardless, his latest record sees him getting over his humble debut album, Forget, as an electronic star with a predisposition to bad decisions.
Throughout Confess, he is thematically bound to his own heart and how it may affect others. On “Five Seconds,” he sings on the chorus, “Five seconds in your heart/Straight to the heart/I can’t get to your heart.” Much of the song is concerned with his heart, your heart, and the absolute impossibility of getting into either. “Five Seconds” has been in heavy rotation across music sites this summer and the biggest reason is his delivery; the pure frustration when he belts, “That’s no way to get it on” is a side of Twin Shadow that hasn’t yet been fully explored. His obsession with lust and romance comes genuinely from his persona, seen on the cover wearing a leather jacket and come-hither demeanor. However, he follows “Five Seconds” with “Run My Heart” where he sings “You don’t run my heart/So don’t you dare,” and he seems too preoccupied by the word “heart.” Also, while frequently singing about love, he continually dismisses his feelings. In “Golden Light” he sings “Some people say there’s a golden light/You’re the golden light/And if I chase after you/Doesn’t mean that it’s true.” This is not to suggest poor songwriting on his part, just that Twin Shadow as a persona is fundamentally flawed and repeatedly brings himself to the brink of affection, but reserves just enough gusto to pull himself away at the last second.
Confess has given Lewis a chance to develop songs further than Forget, which was much more synth-heavy, featuring vocals that were slightly warped. “Golden Light” plays around with some steel drums, featuring a return to the quiet-verse and loud-chorus method that worked so well on “Five Seconds”; thankfully the approach doesn’t feel gimmicky. “The One” sounds like a Morrissey collaboration with Depeche Mode. The change in his inflection to fit the down-tempo beat and the overall sound keeps with his previous work in the New Wave genre. As the track blossoms, he assumes the same vocal style of Arcade Fire’s Win Butler and the purpose of his confusing display of impersonations becomes difficult to pin-down. “I Don’t Care” sounds eerily similar to One Republic’s “Apologize,” but only because of the piano and, thankfully, less because of Lewis’ performance. His music adheres to a genre of his own creation, which appears to be a collage of sounds from the 80s. “Beg For The Night” ends with a sweet guitar solo accompanied by Lewis’ crooning and sweeping synths. What I like most about Twin Shadow is that, though he’s not the strongest vocalist, he absolutely devotes himself to his melodies and never falters from being a hopeless romantic in the process.
Twin Shadow comes across as an old soul, touching on timeless concepts such as waiting home alone on a Friday night or being together because it’s the summer. Confess gives insight to the complex life of Twin Shadow, heavily emphasizing tortured love songs. We’re fortunate that he’s complex enough to avoid outright happiness and write an album that shows notable growth and development.