Car Seat Headrest
Teens of Denial


4.5
superb

Review

by SpeakSound USER (16 Reviews)
December 15th, 2016 | 14 replies


Release Date: 2016 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Car Seat Headrest hitting the mainstream is the best thing to happen to twenty-something year-olds since “The Front Bottoms” got signed.

If you’re a moody, constantly depressed, and highly cynical twenty-something year old who often gets frustrated with the cold world around you, Car Seat Headrest is the music for you. Appealing to the same demographic as acts such as The Front Bottoms, Car Seat are the newest group to capture the emotionally off-balance minds of your mid-twenties. Except, Car Seat’s music is more direct and thoughtfully written, versus Front Bottom’s sarcastic and often joke-riddled stream of consciousness brand of lyricism.

Before going any further, it would be wise of me to review Headrest’s history before being signed to Matador. Car Seat Headrest did not begin as a full band but as a solo project by Will Toledo. Toledo would write and record his records in his bedroom and the backseat of his car and then would post them to his Bandcamp. During this period, he released numerous lo-fi indie rock albums that amassed a large cult following. Rightfully so, since when going back and visiting these projects, albums such as “Twin Shadow” and “Nervous Young Man” really stick out, not only as some of the best underground music coming out at the time, but some of the better music coming out in general. This ability to produce music that stands up against big names with not much recording equipment sets him apart and ahead from every other up in coming artist trying to get their name out there. You could say it was inevitable he got signed, as he’d already achieved fame without the platform of a label.

Toledo and company didn’t completely detach from (his)their root’s, as “Teens of Denial” features a lot of the same tension and angst as previous efforts. They’ve also kept song length and album length, shelving albums that extend past an hour, without ever feeling like a drag. One thing missing, as fans likely noticed, is the lack of any 15-minute long epics that seemed to continuously be the height of his solo career discography. But whatever ground he lost there is made up by his drastically improved song-writing ability and his unmatchable lyrical wit.

Cynical, clever, melancholy; these are fitting adjective you could use to describe Headrest’s work. The album opens with “Fill in the Blank,” which quickly establishes the mood of the rest of the record, as Toledo mumbles “I’m so sick of fill in the blank,” addressing literally everything. Toledo’s vocals are often monotonous yet filled with emotion mirroring acts such as Interpol but full of angst. At the climax of songs, he yells lyrics until his voice cracks, like on “Fill in the Blank” when he uses his brand of deadpan humor to spill his guts when the line “I get signs from god to stay the *** down.” If sang by someone else, this line would end up laughable, but Toledo has a gift of getting his listeners to believe he’s serious and more than that, you might even feel the same pain. By the end of this opener, Toledo has a breakthrough, accepting that this might just be the way he is; a depressed and negative human being. At least he makes incredible music to make our ***ty little lives feel slightly more bearable.

This record is littered with his dark humor and analysis’ of life situations that bring about epiphanies. “Destroyed by Hippie Powers” is a whiplash indie rock jam about people’s disillusionment with the world of recreational and psychedelic drugs, assuming that they’re either going to gain spiritual enlightenment or completely fall apart, when, in reality, it’s neither. It’s juxtaposed next to a real-life experience on “Drugs with Friends,” a Car Seat version of a psychedelic rock song, fit with a slide guitar for effect, where Toledo recounts his only psychedelic experience. Instead of becoming enlightened, Toledo finds that he just feels like “another ***-bag civilian” and gets shamed by Jesus and his father. Possibly the best example of his knack of songwriting is displayed in “Drunk Drivers/Killer Whales” which uses intoxicated drivers and the documentary “Blackfish” to express the weight of responsibilities in life and the empty feeling of falling victim to the vicious cycle of irresponsibility. After a few spins of this record, it’s hard to imagine anyone who won’t be singing along when Toledo starts bellowing, “It doesn’t have to be like this killer whales! Killer whales!”

The remaining portions of the album sees the band tackling a handful of different genres such as funk (Vincent), punk (Connect the Dots), emo (Cosmic Hero) and power pop (Unforgiving Girl). Will repeatedly revisits his seamlessly endless crutches, such as his shame about watching porno (Not What I Needed), his battles with social anxiety (Vincent) and death (Cosmic Hero). Depending on where you’re currently at in life, you may not connect to the music as much as I do, but even if you don’t, it’s hard to deny its appeal. If Will reads this, somehow, let’s get a drink, man. I’m sure a lot of fans want the honor, since you’ve helped a lot of us get through some rough days.

Review Link: (Will post later tonight)



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Comments:Add a Comment 
Gyromania
December 15th 2016


21458 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

This album is so boring, so surprised by all the high ratings

wtferrothorn
December 15th 2016


5009 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

"the best thing to happen to twenty-something year-olds since “The Front Bottoms” got signed."



torts alt confirmed

SnakeDelilah
December 15th 2016


17844 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

shut up gyro

Digging: Zao - The Well-Intentioned Virus

Gyromania
December 15th 2016


21458 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Stfu you basic bitch

SnakeDelilah
December 15th 2016


17844 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

you wanna start talking basic bitches you have a fucking grimes profile picture lol

Gyromania
December 15th 2016


21458 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

She's a hell of a lot better than this

DoofusWainwright
Contributing Reviewer
December 16th 2016


10610 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

"the best thing to happen to twenty-something year-olds since “The Front Bottoms” got signed."



Must be lean days indeed

Chortles
December 16th 2016


19699 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

some seriously crazy insults ITT!

Digging: Vladislav Delay - Multila

Conmaniac
December 16th 2016


10386 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

^^^!!!^!!!^^

SpeakSound
December 16th 2016


80 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Super lost on wtf people are talking out with my quote?

kascetcadettt
December 16th 2016


696 Comments


finally someone who enjoys the greatness of the front bottoms along with me and torts

kascetcadettt
December 16th 2016


696 Comments


uh that was my 500th comment?

kascetcadettt
December 16th 2016


696 Comments


o whatever it was ok i don't regret it

AmericanFlagAsh
December 16th 2016


7300 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Log off Gyro

Digging: Patti Smith - Horses



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