Very few present-day male artists possess the glam panache and dirty, dangerous charisma of Twin Shadow, a.k.a. Dominican-born, Florida-raised, motorcycle-riding George Lewis Jr. The 32-year-old’s sold-out concerts of panty-dropping, unabashedly retro synth pop are packed with frenzies of admirers—at his last Toronto show, one dude threw his boxer-briefs on stage, while someone else made off with a life-size cut-out of Lewis. Part of the attraction lies in his flamboyant street-tough style—leather jackets, mesh tops, dark stubble—which has been lauded by W and GQ. (Additional cred: he does the runway music for super-hot streetwear brand Public School.)
“Even when I didn’t think I was into fashion, I was into fashion,” he says. “When I was 18 years old, I loved punk rock, and though I didn’t care about what people wore, I still cared about what I wore. I used to sew myself into my jeans!” His music is just as strong as his sartorial skills: previous albums Forget (2010) and Confess (2012) won praise from Rolling Stone, The Guardian and Pitchfork. His new record, Eclipse (Warner), is a rousing collection of lush ballads and huge anthems featuring wall-of-sound instrumentation and crashing power chords—it’s all high drama, emotional urgency and unironic romance. Soaring tracks like “To the Top” and “I’m Ready” would be the perfect soundtrack for the final shot of an ’80s romcom, where the lovers run toward each other to embrace in the middle of the frame. That spirit of lust, that madness of old: Twin Shadow keeps it gloriously alive.
Listen to “I’m Ready,” the first single of Eclipse. Twin Shadow plays Toronto Monday, April 6.