When he released ‘Forget’, his first album as Twin Shadow, way back in 2010, George Lewis Jr.’s style was simple - a faux-bedroom producer aesthetic created with a handful of synth sounds and a whole lot of Morrissey-esque melancholy. The best songs from ‘Forget’ - ‘Shooting Holes’ and ‘Castles in the Snow’ for example - worked because of this brilliant simplicity that complimented Lewis Jr.’s hypnotic and emotionally tense vocal. Since then, however, Lewis Jr. has been seemingly testing the elasticity of this formula, and the results - as they very much are on this new album ‘Eclipse’ - are mixed, and leave his sky-high ambitions in doubt.
Where ‘Forget’ was murky and moody, its follow up ‘Confess’ saw Lewis Jr. - fair play to him - gunning for gold, to a lot of success actually. The songs were sharper, louder and more dynamic - he was pushing his formula to the limits; aiming for euphorically-charged choruses and rich, elegant instrumentation which resulted in excellent pop songs like ‘Golden Light’ and ‘Run My Heart’. Then came ‘Old Love / New Love’ (which actually features on ‘Eclipse’), Lewis Jr.’s crowning moment to date - an unbelievably infectious dance floor belter that proved he has the chops to push his electric ecstasy even further.It’s a shame then that ‘Old Love / New Love’ is still the centrepiece within a record of brand new material. ‘When the Lights Turn Out’ comes close to reaching the same heights but takes too long to boil over its rising strings, and ‘Eclipse’ tries taking his emotional range but slips whilst stretching it across cheesy balladry. Considering how much Twin Shadow excels as a project of pristine, highly addictive pop bangers, ‘Eclipse’ falls flat too often - eclipsing, some might say, the stadium-worthy songs we know he can achieve.