The latest saviour of indie rock delivered on the promise of his prodigious Bandcamp output with a supremely confident major label debut. Will Toledo’s 13th album under the alias, the first made with Matador Records, confirmed his talent for expertly observing the hilarious and heartbreaking insecurities of modern young adulthood (‘Last Friday night I took acid and mushrooms/I did not transcend/I felt like a walking piece of shit/In a stupid looking jacket’). Backed for the first time by other musicians, the songs on Teens of Denial immediately hit harder than anything Toledo has previously done, right from the first guitar line on album opener and highlight Fill In The Blank. Songs like the 11-minute epic The Ballad of the Costa Concordia and the eight-minute Cosmic Hero indicate Car Seat Headrest’s lofty ambitions on this project, and they more often than not hit their mark without losing your interest. Teens of Denial felt like the summation of Toledo’s entire output up until this point, and the album that he had been waiting to make. Awkward white male adolescence might not be the most original indie rock topic in 2016, but if Will Toledo keeps finding ways to make it sound this essential, we’ll keep listening.
Words: Nick Bedingfield