For his new album, Will Toledo, the mastermind behind Car Seat Headrest, has decided the best next step forward is to go back.
Twin Fantasy (Face to Face) is a reworking and rerecording of the original Twin Fantasy (Mirror to Mirror) released in 2011. It's a version he can now do, with a bigger budget and a full band, shaping it into the album it's meant to be.
And what an album it is: 10 tracks of epic, euphoric, alternative rock, near book-ended (tracks 2 and 9) by the massive 13-minute Beach Life-In-Death and 16-minute Famous Prophets, twinned songs that share the refrain "the ocean washed over your grave". The first track My Boy (Twin Fantasy) is likewise mirrored by the closing track Twin Fantasy (Those Boys).
Throughout the album Toledo's lyrics prove to be self-aware, in parts writing about writing. "Most of the time that I use the word 'you', Well you know that I'm mostly singing about you," he sings to the man who may well be the subject of the whole record.
Elsewhere his words are still as charming as always, borrowing and referencing here and there. On Cute Thing, with its mentions of James Brown and Frank Ocean, he latches on to the band They Might Be Giants and their song Ana Ng, twisting that song's lyrics to his own ends.
With Twin Fantasy (Face to Face), Toledo revisits his angsty adolescence with a wry grin. He knows he's not the same person he was in 2011. None of us is. But what inspiration that time has provided for a thoroughly modern, and amazing, masterpiece.
Rating: 5/5 stars
• Car Seat Headrest will perform at Auckland City LImits on March 3.