Car Seat Headrest // Live Review

Servant Jazz Quarters – November 17th

Eleven albums into his career, Will Toledo’s Car Seat Headrest project is finally seeing returns. Now signed to Matador and much hyped after CMJ, he’s at Servant Jazz Quarters to promote Teens Of Style – a compilation of re-recorded songs that constitutes his first Matador release. It’s also his first London show, and one suspects from the occasional messiness of his band, he’s not yet acclimatised to the demands of the stage.

However his albums to date, particularly How To Leave Town, Monomania and Twin Fantasy are strangely alluring, despite their often forgettable fidelity. Opening with ‘The Ending Of Dramamine’ the band have substituted the synth intro for guitars in an opening passage that definitely needs development. The moment the verse drops they start to hold the room. A quarter of the way into ‘Times To Die’ the band’s generated enough energy. Toledo’s mid-song cry of ‘ya like that?!’ sounds like something more befitting moustachioed lotharios in adult movies, but the answer is still a resounding yes.

And then he manages to keep the feeling going for much of the remainder of the set. The likes of ‘Cute Thing’ and ‘Something Soon’ are full of vim. Some comic relief comes when he decides to break into the unrehearsed ‘Twin Fantasy’ fan favourite ‘Sober To Death’ as an encore – a look of mild panic on drummer Andrew Katz’s face as he yelps ‘just look at me when I’m supposed to do stuff!’ to Toledo. Finishing with an emotive full band version of ‘Stop Smoking’ Car Seat Headrest have fulfilled their obligation to keep their audience satisfied. Evidently, the Matador signing is the beginning of the next level. Toledo and co deserve the accolades, lyrically and musically they’re fire and Matador is the perfect stable for them. They just need some careful stoking.

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Buy: Car Seat Headrest – Teens of Style