Car Seat Headrest: it’s one of those nondescript things that could only become even mildly interesting as a musician’s pseudonym. The musician in question is Will Toledo, whose staggering thirteenth LP – he’s only in his twenties, for goodness sake – his latest record being a statement of intent.
Toledo is a true wordsmith and ‘Teens of Denial’ is, above all else, a lyrical treasure trove. Most sticking of all is the shout-it-from-the-rooftops, nonsensical on the surface, emotionally-charged chorus of rousing album high point ‘Drunk Drivers/Killer Whales’. “It doesn’t have to be like this / It doesn’t have to be like this / It doesn’t have to be like this / Killer whales, killer whales,” he insists defiantly on a number that deals with what he calls “post-party melancholia”.
Elsewhere, Toledo delves deeper and darker. “Hangovers feel so good when I know it’s the last one / Then I feel so good that I have another one,” he sings at the beginning of ‘(Joe Gets Kicked Out of School for Using) Drugs With Friends (But Says This Isn’t a Problem)’ – what a mouthful that is – before later touching on the morbid on ‘1937 Skate Park’: “I steer clear of the graveyards / They are cliché in my death-obsessed generation”. He even manages to make the mundane strangely magical, lines such as “For the past year I’ve been living in a town that gets a lot of tourists in the summer months” on ‘Vincent’ delivered with a transformative nonchalance.
There’s so much going on here that it can be borderline overwhelming. It’s a record that’s enigmatic, a little deceptive in places, and thoroughly gripping throughout.
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Four years on since mainstream-baiting LP ‘Teens Of Denial’, Will Toledo is back with a banger. But if you thought you knew what to expect from Car Seat Headrest then get ready to make a sharp U-turn.
Our new issue also features Moses Sumney, PVRIS, Car Seat Headrest and loads more.
Our new digital issue (out Friday 8th May) will also feature IDLES, Sports Team, Car Seat Headrest, PVRIS and loads more.
A weird and wonderful new offering.