Car Seat Headrest // Making a Door Less Open
Even if Will Toledo seems eager to twist knobs on this outing, his knack for songcraft never eludes him
Although Car Seat Headrest frontman Will Toledo may have been seen sporting a (very chic, LED-equipped) gas mask recently, this is not a drill — Making a Door Less Open is the multi-instrumentalist and songwriter's first batch of new material since 2016's breakthrough Teens of Denial. Despite his timely fashion statement, Toledo very much promotes contagion here, with programmed and live production elements closely holding hands, smartly complementing or contrasting one another as the record's tenor alternates between urgency and calm. This is perhaps most brilliantly executed on "There Must Be More Than Blood." The deep, droning synth bell that carries throughout the track sounds foreboding when framed by the intro's off-kilter guitar runs, but morphs into something more meditative and transcendental as the tune takes a more harmonious turn in its chorus.
Even if Toledo seems eager to twist knobs on this outing, his knack for songcraft never eludes him — these ears even detect shades of Beck here and there, both in Toledo's vocal timbre and stylistically (check the hip-hop inflected guitar pop of "Martin," capped off with very Beck-like outro trumpets). While Making a Door Less Open's biting synths and eerie effects may not always make for easy listening, Toledo's sincere delivery and melodic gifts make this one easily worth listening to.