Car Seat Headrest Making a Door Less Open Matador
Will Toledo’s Car Seat Headrest has long been a musical project obsessed with their own mythology. The band’s last full-length release, after all, was their 2018 re-recording of Toledo’s 2011 Bandcamp release Twin Fantasy. For 2020, they re-emerge with Making a Door Less Open, their first ‘brand new’ album since 2016.
To straightforwardly release an LP, however, wouldn’t be in the spirit of this band, who make a habit of both self-referencing and constantly questioning the process of making music. Which might explain why Making a Door Less Open is being released with three different mixes and tracklists across three formats. And to satisfy Car Seat’s thirst for playing with their own identity, the live shows and press that will (eventually) accompany the record will see Toledo assuming a character called Trait who appears only in a gas mask and hazmat suit – though this pre-pandemic choice has perhaps had its thunder stolen now.
The reason for the costume and character, according to Toledo, can be boiled down to fostering a sense of unselfconsciousness, and certainly, the music on this record is some of the most unfettered in the band’s extensive catalogue. On Hollywood and What’s With You Lately, they embrace sonic references like LCD Soundsystem (in the blend of synths and almost spoken narration) and U2 (the throaty, Bono-esque vocals). Life Worth Missing sees the band balance Toledo’s sardonic lyrical style with their obvious, more straightforward arena ambitions, the chugging synths lighting a path to a world where Toledo and co are the successors to The Killers.
Across the record, Car Seat Headrest find a way to grow further into their potential as a bonafide ‘big’ rock band. It’s heartening that they’ve been able to do it by leaning further into what makes them a stranger prospect than most.