Twin Shadow -‘Forget’ (4AD)
It’s an interesting example of how labels have evolved, people’s notions of what is cool and not, and what might be perceived as art rock have changed over many years. The debut album from Twin Shadow (the nom de plume of Dominican-born George Lewis Jr) is out on 4AD, the seminal British art label who have given us a whole host of great names over the years, including Bauhaus, The Cocteau Twins, Throwing Muses, Pixies and in more recent years Broken Records and Camera Obscura. Twin Atlantic’s sound is rooted in the 80s, particularly the production, and less than ten years ago would have been considered a throwback. I love what 4AD have produced over the years -and yet even I can’t help wondering if they would have released this album ten years ago.
Yet just as much stuff becomes re-evauated so the advent of artists like Neon Indian, Emeralds and Ariel Pink’s Huanted Graffiti (the latter labelmates of Twin Shadow have started a seachange in thinking about 80s AOR, particularly when filtered through a post-noise and shoegazing filter. David Keenan wrote an article in The Wire last year that examined the concept and lead to a whole lot of discussion of whether the term is fair or not, and whether totally different bands are being shoehorned into the type of movement-making more commonly associated with the NME.
Whatever. If asked to sum up the album in one word, that would be ‘dreamy.’ Or possibly ‘dreamlike.’ Sure, he knows his heritage -and on closer listening, classic 80s indie is just as important to the evolution of the sound as the aforementioned influences – but this should not be understood as simply an exercise in nostalgia. There’s a number of great songs on here Castles in the snow’ ‘When We’re Dancing’ ‘Slow’ and album opener ‘Tyrant Destroyed’ which make this album very definitely worthy of investigation.
Will hypnagogic pop turn out to be a label as important as ‘dubstep’ or a laugh in the footnotes of history like ‘new grave’ or ‘stool rock?’ (well, exactly). The fact is, it really doesn’t matter: this is a very strong album which deserves to be heard, savoured and appreciated.
Forget is out now on 4AD.