Review: Car Seat Headrest – Teens of Style



4 OUT OF 5 NUTS!

carseatheadrest-teensofstyleUpon listening to Car Seat Headrest’s terrific new record, I became aware of a huge elephant in the room that I knew I was going to have to address if I wanted to write a halfway decent review. The problem — this particular elephant hails from Dayton, Ohio and I talk about them all the goddamn time. There’s just no way around the fact that we’re going to have to discuss Guided by Voices in this article.

Teens of Style’s effortless melodies (on full display in must-listen track “The Drum”) and general lo-fi aesthetic recall some of GBV’s finest moments. The fundamental difference between the two bands, and what differentiates Car Seat Headrest from your run-of-the-mill Bob Pollard disciples, is that Teens of Style takes its time. Unlike the perpetually rushed GBV, Car Seat Headrest isn’t afraid to flesh out a song idea and take a track past the five minute mark (or six, in the case of solid centerpiece “Times to Die.”)

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Ultimately, these songs are interesting enough to justify a beefier run, and Car Seat Headrest definitely seems more interested in texture and atmosphere than other groups of their ilk. Unlike, say, GBV’S 1993 classic Alien Lanes, which sounds like a bunch of dudes playing immediately classic music, Teens of Style feels more staged, more produced. Obviously, it’s difficult to toe a line between production and affectation, but the best albums with low production values more than make up for their recording limitations with raw and sometimes unpredictable material. On this record, the low fidelity recording seems to be a stylistic choice rather than a budgetary necessity.

Regardless of the motivation, Teens of Style manages to incorporate deliberate and interesting production choices while still sounding spontaneous enough to feel deeply human. Check out “Something Soon” and “Oh! Starving,” too.

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