Thursday, March 19, 2015

Review: Twin Shadow - Eclipse

Twin Shadow

Label: Warner Music Canada
Release Date: February 11, 2015
3 out of 5 stars
Listen to: "To The Top & I’m Ready"


Born in the Dominican Republic, raised in Florida and New York, George Lewis Jr., who we call Twin Shadow, has recently left his east coast roots behind for Los Angeles. With two previous albums under his belt, it was time to sign with a major label (Warner Bros) for promotion of his most recent offering, Eclipse.

If you've listened to Twin Shadow's previous two albums, you know Lewis isn't one to shy away from his feelings, and Eclipse is no different. Past that, it is harder to draw comparisons to the Twin Shadow we have known. Eclipse is more of an anthemic album, about coming out of the darkness and being brought back into the light, using less guitar than in prior material and more booming large sound. It's continuing along the road, as Lewis himself is, moving from an artist that releases his own material to an artist signed to quite a major label, moving across the country, moving towards more of a pop sound than we've heard from him, moving towards what's to come...

Eclipse is an 11-track album, coming out of the gate with deep emotion in "Flatliners." In the album's opening song, Lewis laments promises broken, using a dark haunting melody that allows you to feel his pain. Fittingly, and perhaps even more haunting, Lewis and his band keyboardist Wynne Bennett, bassist Spencer Zahn and drummer Andy Bauer, recorded this album in a small chapel on the grounds of the Hollywood Forever Cemetery. Each song continues the theme of extreme feelings of love and love lost. Meaningful? Yes. Emotional? Very. Easy listening? No. This is not an album you sit down with and listen to from start to finish. I tried. It's mentally exhausting. The anguish and loneliness is felt in "Half Life's" lyrics: "Do you know why I stumble? Why I'm way down on my knees/ I've been racing through a half-life/ and it's taking its toll on me." This also isn't the album that you put on in the background while you work or attempt to accomplish other large tasks. It would be better suited for a large amphitheater or outdoor arena.

Listening to Eclipse in entirety, you can't help but feel Lewis is trying to tell us he's not one to be pigeon-holed into a specific genre. All Twin Shadow songs are full of introspection, each word and beat carefully created to instill meaning and feeling in the listener - Lewis knows just what he's saying to us. While his previous albums were constructed with more guitar and more synth, Eclipse lends itself more to power pop ballad. This is definitely his most refined album. Singles "Turn Me Up" and "To The Top" (I date you not to fist pump at least once while this song plays) are radio ready and "Old Love/New Love" begs to be presented to a dance floor.

One can only hope that Eclipse provides the catharsis Lewis seems to have been searching for while writing this album, and that he has left whatever demons still remained behind in NYC. If "Locked and Loaded" is any indication, there's still a lot more to come from Twin Shadow.

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