Excruciatingly sincere and cathartic as ever, Will Toledo & co. make their major label debut with Teens of Style. A compilation of reworked songs from 2011’s My Back is Killing Me Baby and 2012’s Monomania, it serves as a retrospective of Toledo’s solo career.
Self-aware and introspective, this album explores mental health, sexuality and hopeless romanticism in a maelstrom of lo-fi indie rock instrumentation and abstract, emotionally charged lyricism. The lead singles navigate themes of apathy and boredom, but differ in that Something Soon swells into panicked anticipation whilst No Passion is more inert, the vocals heavily mixed down under minimal instrumentation. Toledo’s ability to come at subject matter with a variety of musical forms is what sets him apart from many of his bedroom-indie contemporaries, best exhibited in 2013’s Twin Fantasy. In this respect it’s the nature of this album which keeps it short of greatness: as a compilation it lacks the narrative strength and consistency of previous albums. While a great album, Teens of Style will only serve as a placeholder for me until the release of Teens of Denial next year.
[Nour El-Issa – @dimredspectre]