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Thursday, September 28, 2023

Label change gives Twin Shadow a clean, crisp sound on Eclipse

When George Lewis Jr., the man behind Twin Shadow, sat down to interview with Stereogum’s Ryan Leas, he revealed he has been through some tumultuous experiences over the last few years. From the death of three close friends, to the admittance of his father to a mental institution, Lewis definitely has accumulated some emotional baggage. Instead of allowing these conflicts to cause a bottleneck in his artistry, he has used them to spark a new flame in his musical career.

Twin Shadow’s third album, Eclipse, was released March 17. The album's release, which was originally set to be sometime late last year, was pushed back following an abrupt change in Twin Shadow’s record label. After recording with 4AD Records for his first two albums, Lewis Jr. suddenly shifted to Warner Brothers.

If this is the direction Lewis was truly aiming for in Eclipse, then he has succeeded. In lyricism, song length and song titles, Eclipse is even, almost elementary. The entire album focuses on irretrievable love, and is so simple and direct that it seems a heartbroken teenage girl could have written it. This is evident in the refrains of “Alone,” feat. Lily Elise, "Isn’t it unfair/ That I should be alone, waiting for you" or “I’m Ready,” "Hold on to me/ Don’t say it’s the end of me/ I’m right here/ I’m ready, I need this love." Eclipse features mostly pop ballads that crescendo to gripping choruses. “Old Love / New Love," feat. D'Angelo Lacy, an 80s-like ballad, could have been taken straight from a Michael Jackson album. Even with the sombre lyrics, every song has driving beats, punching synths and hooks that left me unconsciously tapping my foot throughout the listen.

The transition to the recording powerhouse, which represents artists such as Adam Lambert, Goo Goo Dolls and Mac Miller, is evident in Eclipse. Twin Shadow’s first two albums spun an array of synths, guitar riffs and piano into a web that was almost impossible to tell one sound from the next. Much of these musical layers have been stripped in Eclipse, leaving an album that is radiantly clean; nothing less than that would be anticipated from Warner Bros. In his interview with Stereogum, Lewis stated, admittedly, that he may have been focusing too much on creating his own unique “sound,”rather than focusing on what made him happy.

“I think when you’re a young artist and you put out your first record, you almost want to talk in code,” Lewis said to Stereogum. “You want to have this specific language specific to you. It’s elitist, almost. My music is no longer elitist.”

Rating: B

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