When Twin Shadow—a.k.a. Dominican artist George Lewis, Jr.—released his debut album Forget in the fall of 2010, his sophisticated bedroom-pop rose above the hazy clamor of other chillwave contenders. Forget staked Twin Shadow’s claim as a formidable ’80s-nostalgist, and his sophomore album, Confess, expands on its predecessor. It’s filled with Morrissey-esque yelps and Human League-worthy choruses, but Twin Shadow manages to digest his influences rather than simply replicate them. Confess retains the humid fog that saturated Forget, but the instrumentation is brighter, louder, and sharper. Synthesizers punch through the atmosphere, and Lewis’ exquisite croon floats above it all.
On his website, Lewis states that the inspiration for Confess came from a series of motorcycle rides he took after an accident, and the album accordingly conveys the freedom of the road tinged with a threat of imminent violence. The warm, sweet hues of “Golden Light” offer up the sonic equivalent of that feeling, a slow introduction into an album worthy of blasting on any highway in the world. The gearshifts are almost audible as Lewis adjusts speed, building dance-party rhythms from layers of thunking bass and slithering guitar. There are touches of Purple Rain-era Prince, all reckless youth and asphalt burns, in the languid “Be Mine Tonight.” The cocksure, yearning “Run My Heart” is a worthy entry into any strobe-lit beach party playlist, though the lyrics—“You don’t run my heart / So don’t you dare”—are an apt reproach to the traditional summer love anthem. Confess manages to both capture that familiar syrupy August wistfulness and cut through it mercilessly. It’s a strong follow-up to Forget and a seasonal album that will last long after the summer ends.