Although it was the driving force behind his deliciously lovesick debut, ForgetTwin Shadow has grown tired of a broken heart. With Confess, George Lewis Jr. re-emerges collar up, pedal down, ring fence around his affections. Opener “Golden Light,” sets the tone immediately, glowing aurally with the standard new wave sheen that we have come to expect from the mod-rocker’s synth thumb. But on paper, not so much:

It’s been so long
So long
Since some brave boy fell in love

 

Some people say there’s a golden light
You’re the golden light
And if I chase after you doesn’t mean that it’s true

Run My Heart” is similarly matter of fact, with Lewis Jr.’s vocals pushed to the front of the mix so to punctuate the poisonous lyrics directly into the glossy chorus, which knots the song’s cynical bow:

This isn’t love
This isn’t love
I’m just a boy
And you’re just a girl

Confess is more dynamic than Forget and such sonic expansions provide Twin Shadow with the audacious passageway that he needs to flex his bitter tongue. The sexually-frustrated “Five Seconds” – which Matt and I noodled in detail here - introduces a post-punk inflection into the album’s synthetic soundscapes, while the delay guitars on “You Call Me On” act as a gnawing backbone to the seethes of “but I don’t give a damn about your dreams.” The cruelties culminate, come “I Don’t Care,” a piano-ballad counterbalanced by cacophonous digi-percussion, Lewis Jr. disenchanting:

Before the night is through
I will say three words
I probably meant the first two
And regret the third

But look beyond the glacial armour and you will find moments of sensitivity scattered throughout Confess. In “Patient,” complete with a Halen-via-Jackson solo, Twin Shadow at the susceptibility in heartbreak – “You are adored, but you say you’re alone, like I’m nothing at all.” While in “Beg for the Night,” which shares a shuffle similar to “Edge of Seventeen” (or, ahem, “Bootylicious“) he endearingly lies out some sensual jitters -”I know it’s absurd, to shake when we kiss.” Yet the album’s most tender moment emerges when Lewis Jr. alludes true love may have been under his nose the entire time in “The One,” which is neatly wrapped up in a riff reminiscent of George Michael‘s “Faith:”

So I’m putting all my love
On the one, the one who’s always there
And I’m sending down my love, to her

Confess is Twin Shadow’s tussle with love. But we’re unsure that, despite his attempts, he has won. Rather, the ring fence has come down to reveal this is still very much the helpless romantic that we first met on Forget. But by chronicling his battle, Lewis Jr. has fashioned both a brave exposé, which candidly admits to his moral miscalculations, and a bold album, which, though ever-vintage in influence, sounds utterly relevant this side of 2012.