Customer Reviews: Confess
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4.3 out of 5 stars
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on July 11, 2012
Well... I did not expect to react so enthusiastically to this. I loved his first album, and was definitely ready to hear his new one, but I can truly say I'm totally floored. I couldn't recommend this more to those of you who enjoyed his debut, Forget. In many ways it's a continuation of that sound: a fresh take on 80s dance, new wave, indie-pop, etc. I don't have the background to expound more than that, but I can promise you this is a gripping listen. I think his album Forget is a bit less accessible actually, and while Confess has some trippy and challenging moments--listen with headphones if you're interested--it is still more instantly engaging than his first album I think. These songs are upbeat, although still quite serious. It's a dark, but extremely fun listen. So far one of my favorite releases this year.
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on June 7, 2013
Fell in love with Forget. Out of nowhere comes this fantastic album created largely in this guy's bedroom, if you believe the PR spiel. Eagerly awaited the follow up. I'll probably never "forget" the the searing knife wound of bitter disappointment when I heard the new single 'Five Seconds" for the first time. Where were the hooks so prominent on every single track of Forget? And this was the lead off single??

Well, I was initially very disappointed with the album as well. But eventually, Confess managed to claw and scratch its way into my regular rotation for several weeks. The songs are enjoyable, but, with two huge exceptions, are not addictive. Strangely, the second half of the album is stronger than the first half. There are only 2 songs in my opinion that are on the level of Forget. "When the Movie's Over". Now that is one sublime track, great melodic synth riff, with a soaring, melodramatic (in the best sense) chorus. And "Patiently Waiting" has a pounding beat and an insistent chorus that implants itself in your brain. Those two songs are fantastic, the rest pales in comparison.

I am still a fan of Twin Shadow and will be eagerly awaiting what the very talented Mr. Lewis serves up next. I just think this was a case of the dreaded sophomore slump.
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on July 10, 2012
First, let's get this out of the way.

Yes, Confess sounds like the 80s. Yes, George Lewis Jr. is wearing a leather jacket. And yes, Lewis Jr. is supposed to be this alternative 2012 it-boy version of the 1980s bad boy. As a matter of fact, Lewis Jr. describes his look as "James Dean in Bollywood in the late 80s." Cool. Nice. Awesome. Whatever. But, what sort of music comes to mind when you think, you know: motorcycles, leather jackets, bad boys, pompadours, 5-o'clock shadows/beards, black shirts/white shirts, leather pants/faded jeans, etc? Well I, for instance, think of classic rock--like Steppenwolf and the Grease soundtrack, maybe. But Twin Shadow is no Steppenwolf, or John Travolta. No no. You see, Twin Shadow is all about the imagery and the sentiment and the dramatics... a little like a certain Ms. Lana Del Rey. But the thing is, Lewis Jr. sort of flaunts this whole 80s faux bad boy persona, and quite proudly (and I really don't see anything wrong with that). He knows what he is doing and he isn't afraid to do it (which sort of goes with his whole faux bad boy persona, I guess). As a reference for this record (or any Twin Shadow music) think: Lost Boys meets Breakfast Club meets Charlie Sheen from Ferris Bueller's Day Off and you sort of get an idea. Yeah, and, believe it or not, Twin Shadow is actually more John Hughes than you'd expect (in case you needed another reference to the 80s).

Put simply, Confess is another modern take on 80s pop. Synth music. New Wave. Whatever you want to call it. And no, it doesn't sound like 2012, whatever 2012 is supposed to sound like. It absolutely, completely, embraces everything 80s. And it's glossy, it's retro as hell, and it's full of ballads and more ballads and then, yeah, even more ballads! But the whole 80s New Wave retro pop synth revival shtick is anything but a gimmick, see. For some of us, Confess will sound like something we've heard already, probably. And yes, this isn't anything new, it's been done before. It's pop music peppered with elements of rhythm & blues and funk. It's like Prince but more obsessed with the 80s. And you know what? People are loving the f*** out of this s*** right now. But why? Isn't it just 80s pop revivalism? Aren't there a dozen other bands doing the same thing right now? Well, yeah, sort of... But then, no, not like Twin Shadow. No one does the 80s like Twin Shadow. What makes Confess work, honestly, is the fact that it doesn't try to be something it's not. Lewis Jr. embraces the 80s (I think I've said this enough times now) and he doesn't use it as a gimmick either. This isn't pastiche. Rather, it's the only genre, really, that could essentially work with the source material: love. Yes, the theme of this album is love... And then some other stuff, but love, mainly. And love works best as a ballad, from the 80s, with synthesizers, and gloss, and... yeah, I think you get my point.

Album highlights include:

Golden Light
Five Seconds
The One
When The Movie's Over
Be Mine Tonight

In the end though, I'll admit this: George Lewis Jr.'s whole image may be artificial and fake and not real, but so what? Yeah, this isn't the 80s anymore, I think we all get that. But some of us like the 80s because we actually lived it and enjoyed it. Others, because it is something that is foreign, and weird, and maybe interesting because, well, it's foreign and weird! And then others, maybe they just like 80s music in general, or, music that sounds like the 80s. And I'm not sure I've totally figured out Lewis Jr.'s entire angle yet (concerning the 80s and his music and all that) but I don't really think I need to. And for the time being, Confess does what it tries to do very well. And for me, that's quite alright.
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on October 14, 2012
So how did I come by Twin Shadow? To be honest, I saw his album cover on both AMG and Pitchfork and was instantly intrigued by the, perhaps unintentional, nod to the cover of the Prince single "Kiss" (it's hanging on my wall, actually, and if you haven't seen it, go Goog it and see... funky, huh?)

Now, so what-- I see someone's album cover and it reminds me of something I like, or, some /image/ that has amused me. Is that enough to click on said pic and read a review? ... ...I was bored, and, hey, Prince is sitting on his Purple Vault like some Purple Troll, even keeping his latest recordings under wraps for the moment, and I'm just thirstin' for some purple drank (I'm really quite clean and boring and happen to mean the music, so, I shouldn't really use that pun, sorry). Anyway, dude may or may not be invoking Christopher Tracy and his funkadelic Parade, so, heck, why not, I got nothin' else to do, may as well skim a review and see if Mr. Nelson is mentioned-- possibly. Like, what's this dude doin', anyway-- brown man with pompadour, leather jacket, forlorn expression...

I click, I read, I skim, I see Morrissey mentioned, and Human League and Depeche Mode. Eyebrows twitch, I decide to file it away in messy desktop of investigative possibilities and then proceed to go about my work of reading up on reviews of some long lost 70s band or something. Maybe read about Rotary Connection, and why that shite never caught on... ... etc. etc.

Well, my good friends at Amazon happen to post a FREE DOWNLOAD of this "Mr. Twin Shadow" (whose name, incidentally, also happens to make me think of my old G.I. Joe personal fav-- STORM SHADOW, anyone?) C'ma, dork out with me. Nerds.

I see more tasteful design and packaging (I went to art school, I like these things, there are both an "i" and "art" in the word "artifice," I appreciate a good presentation, and so should you, just back it up or DELIVER and bring the CONTENT). I see something that fades to frigging purple and makes me think of David Lynch's "Lost Highway." This guy is hitting buttons I'm not sure he cares about. Anyway, I d/l. Thank you, Amazon and Mr. Lewis and 4AD.

Okay, he's on 4AD, says so in the notes. Now, back in the day, 4AD had some of the sweetest packaging and most tasteful design in the business. They also put out some great albums (there are a bunch, if I hear The Breeder's "Last Splash" one more time I might just take up smoking for the post-coital comedown rep that nicotine seems to have). Anyway, fate is trying to punch me in the face with this sweet set-up, and I just might let it, because it proceeds to make me punch-drunk silly.

I put the song in a mix with some other Amazon freebies and go out with enormous headphones and proper shoes. I walk and rock. Try it, it keeps the little brain happy while the big brain can work uninterrupted. Plus, it's good for you. So long as you watch out for traffic. Don't walk and drive, kids. Or drink and write.

It's in the mix somewhere, and I hear some cool tunes, actually, for the most part. (Thank you, Amazon.) So, some track comes on, and it's all up in my face. It goes on for four and a half minutes about how it needs five seconds. It surges and twists and turns, crescendos and collapses, jitters, cuts loose and cuts a rug, rocks out with it's c_ck out and it's heart on it's sleeve (but somehow, with that exposure, you just can't get to that heart, even though you try vainly for 4:30.) I am bemused, semi-bewitched, and just about giddy about how this cheeky aural adventure leaped out and reached for my non-lapels. It's dance-y, has old man guitars in it, feels like a cyberpunk American Graffiti, and has nerdy-ass hooks that make me ashamed of myself. It's dynamic, and has non-invasive repetition. It's very alive and direct and achieves attention. Sh_t. WTFunk? Well, it's not particularly "funky," it's nouveau wave that's been bitten by some snarling pop punk and delivered with more panache than either genre has ever managed to muster up. Brevity says: it's good, fun, energetic, and has toes in the past but feet in the future. If you like a sonic theme park, it's a good ride. It might even make you feel good, or mean something in particular to you and your situation.

I get this album.

I am, initially, wondering where the pink elephant of insistent luminous synths and good old guitar enthusiasm went to. The cooler-than-I'll-ever-be vibe gets a bit fluffy. I start to feel feverish, start to feel to popped to party. Start to get all scrunched and whiny and start thinking a bit about much of modern POP rock and how much I don't like it. At first, well, I just felt like "This is giving me the One Republic heebies." And that guy seems nice as pie but I hate his music. And then, something that kind of deflated my POP heart, starts to rise, and I'm FINE with the hot air. I start wanting to hear this album. And it gets it's ACTUAL hooks in me. This album is loaded with hooks. It could be used in the Jim Rose Circus Sideshow. My god, the hooks. They tore into my brain. This a POP rock album of the highest order. It's so poppy, so GOOD and poppy. It's POPP. eFFING four letter word!

I've read reviews about people not being too happy with this album, but really liking the first. Well, I, of course, went right out and got his first (street team b_tch that I am.) Reviewers felt that he went too bright and bold on this latest release, that his first was more intricate and textured-- precious, probably. And they are right. Forget is a masterful album, and it's awash in details, detours, ideas-- but also, conviction! My take is that he HAS dialed back alot of the noodley bits, gone "straight to the heart" of each song. And he gets there. Confess is clean, sleek, direct, disciplined and unrelenting. Usually I'm not into some of that bag, because usually, when an artist does some of that, things get vacuous and cold and TOTALLY BORING. This guy is dangerous. He can give you the ornate, he can give you the refined, and he can deliver on both each time. If he can find the album between Forget and Confess, NO ONE WILL BE ABLE TO DENY HIM. And there will again be an album that everybody will be listening to. Remember some of that back in the day? In the fractured, or multi-faceted world of the music buying public, there aren't many consensus artists out there. This guy might give alot of people that 80s nostalgia trip with the horny croon and neon synths, but more importantly, the real "80s nostalgic" thing shouldn't be in the sonics but in the way this guy makes music that teenyboppers, rappers, alt. rockers, headbangers, moms and dads etc. could possibly listen to. He could be that good. Or it could be a flash in the pan. We'll have to see.

One last note about Forget (his first album)-- FINALLY, someone takes all of the groovy "science-documentary" sounds from high school and actually makes great pop-fringe SONGS out of them. Is it just me or do you wish that "the Mighty Mitochondria!" could finally step up and rock the house!!! This Floridian did it. And now he lives in Brooklyn. Just my luck.
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on July 17, 2012
ya, ya, ya... he is all about signification - if I'm using that term properly; Ishmael Reed? - with the 80s. He's using those sounds and he's writing pop songs. But these aren't some sugary, over simplified songs that Paula Abdul or Debbie Gibson would be doing.
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on July 20, 2012
I have been a big fan of Twin Shadow since I first heard his previous release, "Forget". He has been a regular on my stereo ever since. I bought "Confess" as soon as it came out (Amazon). The music in "Confess" is exciting, romantic, and SUPER catchy. Being a fan of the Cure, the Smiths, and the new wave music that came out in the 80's; I can hear his influences pretty distinctly. However, he adds a fresh dimension that makes it all his own. The musicianship is great. His voice is both flexible and pleasing to the ears! I can't say enough about him.
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on September 10, 2012
I really liked Twin Shadow's first album, and I really like this one as well. What I've found with both, though, is that a track by track break down ends up with me absolutely hating a few songs and absolutely loving a few others. Part of the problem in my view is that Twin Shadow's voice is relatively unremarkable, so it really comes down to the music and the lyrics, and where those fail, the song can't be saved by his voice. I'm sure other people would disagree, but that's just my two cents. I've already edited out a few of the tracks I don't like from my album, but I'll definitely keep buying his records as the music that is good is really good. I suggest maybe listening to the extended clips available on iTunes as I think the sound song by song can vary greatly and maybe buying individual tracks would be better for some people. My favorites off this album are definitely "Patient", "I Don't Care" and "Golden Light".
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on September 16, 2012
I am so glad I saw this mentioned in a recent issue of Rolling Stone. The magazine gave it three and half stars and referred to Confess as "richly schlocky," but Twin Shadow's newest is more like a love letter to the best part of the 80s, with a 21st century mindset. You get Prince, Depeche Mode, Echo & The Bunnymen, even Corey Hart, echoes and they all sound sensational.

What gives the album a very nice touch, on almost every song, is a plaintive (but not angsty) vibe that can make love songs so powerful. More upbeat than sad, songs like "Be Patient" and "Beg For The Night" are nonetheless still full of yearning.

My favorites are: "Patient," "When The Movie's Over" (it's so beautiful!) and "Be Mine Tonight" (so gentle and sweet, kind of like Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark would do.)

The leather jacket and the good-looking dude in it may scream eye candy, but Confess is so much more than that!:)
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on July 15, 2012
"Confess" is US Synth Pop artist Twin Shadow's sophomore disc, and it takes one right back to the eighties. If you liked Depeche Mode, The Cure, and Bowie, then this is for you. At 10 tracks clocking in under 40 minutes, the songs cut right to the chase.

Opening is the swirling atmospheric stomper "Golden Light", followed by the abrasive guitar-driven "You Call Me On" (with oddball time shifts), the galloping Bowie-meets-Cure "Five seconds", the moody slow-fast "Run My Heart" (with growling bass and the lines "You don't run my heart / So don't pretend you can / Can't you see I'm not in love?" ), while his whispery smooth vocals wrap around the Cure-channeling "The One".

The catchy "Beg For The Night" has a choppy echoey feel. The danceable "Patient" is a groovy R&B number with disjointed effects and lashings of squealing guitar. "When The Movie's Over" is an alluring mid tempo song that recalls Bowie. Closing the album are the closest approximation to ballads; "I don't Care" (set to a funereal beat and sprinklings of piano), and "Be Mine Tonight"

More than an exercise in nostalgia, this feels vital and original.
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Twin Shadow is the stage name of American musician George Lewis Jr who allegedly drew inspiration for this album from a bike accident in Boston. Music lovers everywhere should exhort Mr Lewis to be far more careful for in "Confess" he has produced an album of 80s inspired synth rock, soul and funk which does dabble in retro but comes out sounding surprisingly fresh and squeaky clean. Lewis operates in a territory on "Confess" which has been a graveyard for some other bands. Think of the horrible Killers album "Day and Age" where Brandon Flowers caught a massive musical cold. That said more recently other artists have been more successful in plundering the legacy of Human League, Heaven 17, OMD, Gary Numan and Visage. Dan Bejar's "Destroyer" produced the brilliant "Kaputt" last year (albeit with a very large tongue in their cheek) and Twin Shadow follows from that roaring success.

True there is more than a nod here to Prince who also rode that phase for the production of massive slabs of synth inspired funk that tested your audio equipment with the persistence of electronic oscillators and stinging guitar solo's . Check out the huge wall of sound that is "You call me on" and Lewis captures the essence of what made the Purple one so special. Big choruses interspersed with pounding hooks are the order of the day and this album deserves to be played across Europe in summer festivals. The glorious ballad "The One" drifts along at perfect pace and when Lewis poetically sings "dance me round the room and lie to me" in "I dont care" your tempted to dust down the old dancing pumps and skip the light fantastic. On "Five Seconds" Lewis borrows that huge backdrop which TV on the Radio employed on their brilliant song "Wolf like me" although he not quite in their class. On of the standout songs here is "Beg for the night" where Lewis keeps it relatively simple in synth driven long song but even better is the sensual electronica of "Be mine tonight" which is truly splendid. Twin Shadow in the form of George Lewis have recorded a a excellent pop album here and it proof that confessions are good for the soul.
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