Twin Shadow - Eclipse - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

Twin Shadow - Eclipse

by Justin Pearson Rating:7.5 Release Date:2015-05-18

Go big or go home - there's a helluva lot more of the former than the latter on Eclipse, the third album from George Lewis Jr, better known by his stage name Twin Shadow. This general feeling is awash across its entirety, and the first indication is excellent lead track 'Flatliners', with an insistent call for a hearty fist pump: "We don't have to be flatliners/ so pump, pump, pump it up!" There doesn't seem to be much choice in the matter either way throughout the whole album, which could easily be slotted next to the big, power-ballad pop that dominated 80s airwaves.

If you follow the progression from his debut to here, it's clear that an album like this was just waiting to happen. He's refined the hooks this time around, and the melodies are smoothed out and spread thick with an instant catchiness. This works great for a track like 'To The Top' with its big stadium-ready vibe. But where his previous work had bumps and jolts among the landscape that made the journey unique, Eclipse works more like a bullet taking you from point A to B with a speed that neglects the sights along the way as it accelerates to a pointed state of penetration.

In real life, blunt, raw emotion often pours out without any censorship, so it's fitting that the music here reflects this idea. After all, when's the last time you were really passionate about something and thought before speaking? It doesn't happen often I'll bet. Eloquence takes a back burner in urgent matters of the heart. The determination is palpable in his voice on 'When The Lights Turn out' as he delivers the chorus: "When the lights turned out / You kept so many secrets / But I stick around / Though jealousy and ecstasy is slowly taking over me." There's a slight paradox, though, as his forthright honesty is one of the main reasons this album succeeds, yet it falters a bit in this very same straightforwardness, causing some of the songs to dull a little upon repeat listens. There's really nothing hidden, no surprises.

While Eclipse may be a little too naked at times - exposing parts without the sly suggestion and/or anticipation that often makes the reveal that much sweeter - there's an immediacy to his pleading that has the ability to draw you into the same room where these confessionals take place. This is most notable on 'Half Life': "Do you know why I stumble / Why I'm way down on my knees / I've been racing through a half life and it's taking its toll on me / Do you know why I suffer / In this cold-hearted company / Guess I'll see you in a half life when it's taking over me."

The laser-like focus and directness is to be lauded on 'Old Love/New Love,' a proper dance/club track that turns pain into a raised-hands battle cry: "Drill me to the floor / This hurts even more than I expected it to do." Heartbreak is a big deal, so why not sing about it in an equally huge way? The catharsis is completed through his cries of "Ooh Ooh Ooh Ooooo-oooh" that push out the personal ache. It flies up and away over the pounding couldn't catch it if you tried. The happiness is in the letting go.

From the fringed jacket arms-in-the-air shadow pose of the album cover all the way through to the big music it contains, Eclipse stands as a testament to George Lewis Jr's talent as an artist who's not afraid to create music with pure feeling, regardless of the means used - in this case, arena leaning pop that yearns to cross the border into Top 40 land and snatch a whole new legion of fans. It may not be the album that wins him  critical praise across the board (or keep his indie cred fully intact now that he's on a major label), but it is one that's guaranteed to serve as a runway for his "Twin Shadow" persona which is obviously about to take flight.

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