This is the second band this month to come back for a follow up on NVM, and I am absolutely not ashamed. The one man rack band turned seven piece garage rock group Car Seat Headrest hits 2018 hard with some “new” tunes. This is technically the first album recorded with the full band, as only parts of the band were recorded for Teens of Denial. And a correction to my review of Teens of Denial: Will did record the album Teens of Style after signing to Matador Records but did not record with his band, they came later.
Now to address the quotations earlier. While Will spent time as a solo musician, recording out of his car onto a laptop microphone, he produced an album that came to define his BandCamp years (spoiler alert, it was this one). Now, with a full band and studio experience, he has decided to return to what he has considered an unfinished project. Going into production, Andrew Katz (the band’s drummer), contributed a little while Will went back to his old recording style (a.k.a. alone) and spent several weeks alone in Chicago with the albums mixer, Adam Stilson.
Face to Face is the name of this version of the album. Will got this from a bible verse that this reviewer is too lazy to hunt down. The name relates to the nickname he gave the 2011 version, Mirror to Mirror. The gist of the quote is change and growth from lessons in your past.
This is reflected both through the songs on the albums and the change between the two. What is hard to miss in the 13 minute long epic entitled Beach Life-in-Death is the theme of struggling with sexuality. Will has openly admitted that this album is about his own experience with exploring his sexuality in college. For an album originally written in the pre-gay rights era, that’s huge. This reviewer is absolutely biased in saying more musicians should push the boundaries on what is “okay” to say in music.
Oh yeah, the vinyl. Nothing wrong with a nice black record, and the packaging is traditional Car Seat Headrest style. Along with Teens of Denial, the two look very nice together. Everything about it shows that attention was put into the experience of listening and singing along.
Guess what… Did you guess that I was going to tell you to shop small record stores? If so, good job. If not, welcome to NVM, I hope you stick around.