Car Seat Headrest moves up a gear
Will Toledo's band pieces together highlights from their 50-show tour for an in-your-face and raucous live album.
William Barnes, aka Will Toledo, is a strange kind of guy. It’s not about his looks - with his messy head of hair and his thick-rimmed glasses, he has more in common with a computer nerd than a rock star. What’s strange is how honest he is. There are few singers so ready to indulge in the weaknesses of their voice - to exploit them, even - with such sincerity and consistency. Car Seat Headrest’s frontman cracks in the higher registers, often substitutes singing with speaking; there are a few approximate passages and false notes. Some will say that’s his signature. Others will say he just can’t sing. Either way, the punk-like aesthetic so willingly embraced by Toledo is an unmistakable element of the Seattle band’s success.
After Teens of Denial in 2016, they embarked on a worldwide tour, which they recorded for posterity’s sake. Here’s the result: 9 tracks from 7 different venues, amongst which Ivy, a Frank Ocean cover. Aside from a few new arrangements (Fill in the Blank gets a snazzy new guitar riff) thanks to the backup of three-piece band Naked Giant, CSH’s sound is mostly the same as their last studio record.
Some keys on Drunk Drivers/Killer Whales bring a bit of variety into the mix, with a resolutely 70s/slacker rock sound. On Destroyed by Hippie Powers, a third guitar as well as Grant Mullen’s backing vocals give that extra oomph that really help communicate the songs to the audience.
Commit Yourself Completely cements Car Seat Headrest’s status as a major indie rock band, with a strong discography and boisterous, energetic live performances.
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