Car Seat Headrest’s New Album is Really Good… And It’s Almost 7 Years Old

Car Seat Headrest's Twin Fantasy graphic by Cooper Yeager
Car Seat Headrest's Twin Fantasy graphic by Cooper Yeager

- By Owen Murray -

Twin Fantasy on Bandcamp in 2011 and gained a devoted cult following. The album has reached an almost legendary status by Bandcamp's standards. Devoted fans will point to the original version of Twin Fantasy as one of Car Seat Headrest's best albums. It is noisy sound is full of character. There's no question that it contains some of frontman Will Toledo's most personal lyrics.

What draws these devoted fans all the way back to Will's early days is the same thing that turns many people off.

The recording quality is terrible. Will clearly did not have much of a budget, if he had one at all. And he certainly didn't have very much equipment. He used what he had and he did his best. He didn't shy away from using noise liberally. Fans will argue that these technical shortcomings do not detract from the quality of the songs themselves. In fact - they are essential to the album's charm.

You can imagine then that a totally re-recorded, re-imagined version of Twin Fantasy. This time with the budget and equipment of a successful rock artist-garnered some apprehension from devoted fans.


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Now that Twin Fantasy is re-imagined, I am happy and relieved to say that Will managed to preserve the album's boyish style. Making it both more epic and easier on the ears. The higher production value seems to have instead lifted the veil between the listener and core of the music instead of eliminating the charm like many fans had worried. Because of Will's increased resources and improved songwriting skills, he no longer needs to rely on quirks in his recording style to give his music its charm. Now, the fully realized songs are charming in and of themselves, without the eccentric noisiness.

The penultimate "Famous Profits" has an additional six minutes of epic instrumental rock. This makes the original version seem incomplete in comparison.

There is not a song on Twin Fantasy that hasn't received a valuable addition or creative shift.

"Cute Thing" now has a wild guitar solo that serves as the transition between its two parts that makes the power chord transition of the original seem stagnant. There's no doubt that the changes made to Twin Fantasy are impressive, but the most important aspect of the re-imagination is that it does not lose touch with where to came from. The production is clearer, but not overproduced. Essentially, Will has shifted from a bedroom-rock musician instead of a garage-rock musician. Twin Fantasy, despite sounding professional, has not lost touch with its roots as the work of a 17-year-old kid with unbridled ambition writing and recording his version of Daydream Nation in his bedroom.

 

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