Faces From The Masquerade (Car Seat Headrest) – music review

I remember seeing Will Toledo and Car Seat Headrest early on back in 2016, soon after Teens of Denial was released. I recall them being very timid on stage. Fast forward to 2023, and Faces From The Masquerade showcases Car Seat Headrest playing three consecutive sold-out nights at Brooklyn Steel in New York on March 28th-30th, 2022. Now, the band is clearly in a different place, as this live album has them delivering a performance that can only be described as a rollercoaster of emotion. From the raw energy of the music to the introspective lyrics, Car Seat Headrest leaves the audience captivated and screaming for more.

The record kicks off with a dramatic entry and the smoldering “Crows” from their 2013 record Nervous Young Man. Toledo states in reference to the 8-minute opener, “It always felt like the right track to start off the Masquerade tour,” and he is correct, as it sets the perfect tone for the show. The band soon launches into “Fill In The Blank,” setting the stage for a show filled with infectious hooks and introspective storytelling. Toledo’s stage presence feels magnetic, his energy infectious as he effortlessly switches between guitar and vocals. The crowd sounds immediately drawn into the sonic universe that Car Seat Headrest has created.

The set-list is a well-curated mix of old and new, catering to both longtime fans and those who may have recently discovered the band. Songs like “Bodys” and “Drunk Drivers/Killer Whales” bring an expected burst of energy, while more introspective tracks like “Sober To Death,” which includes the crowd coolly singing along, highlight Toledo’s poignant songwriting. Elsewhere, guitarist/backing vocalist Ethan Ives takes the lead on the rocking “It’s My Child (I’ll Do What I Like),” a track originating from his side project Toy Bastard before joining the CSH fold. It fits perfectly into the set! The powerful rendition of “Beach Life-In-Death” is another highlight on this record. The instrumental sections allow the band to showcase their musical prowess, building to a cathartic climax that sounds like it leaves the audience both emotionally spent and exhilarated.

Car Seat Headrest is now known for its dynamic live shows, and this album captures the vibe. The tracks flow seamlessly into the next, while the band’s musicianship is on full display, with tight rhythms and intricate guitar work creating a sonic landscape that held the audience in rapt attention. They have come a long way since I originally saw the band in 2016, as Faces From The Masquerade is a tour de force of indie rock brilliance. Car Seat Headrest proves once again why they are at the forefront of the indie rock scene, leaving their mark and getting us hyped for their next full length.

Thomas Wilde
For more of Thomas Wilde’s music reviews, check out The Fire Note

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