Sometimes you’ve just got to leave yourself to find yourself (Or some other Zen nonsense). Will Toledo had already spent more than a decade in uncomfortable shoes under the name of Car Seat Headrest, becoming a byword for try, try again as after a catalogue of niche releases via a DIY approach, 2016’s Teens of Denial scraped into both the US & UK Top 200’s.
It would’ve been easier to take some well earned stock at that point, but on Making A Door Less Open the Virginian chose quite deliberately to swerve towards both the leftfield and mainstream simultaneously: if that sounds almost impossible to pull off, then you’re hearing it right.
To do this Toledo evidently felt some sort of rebirth was needed and in creating the alt.personality Trait, he took a cue from his EDM parodying side project 1 Trait Danger. And started wearing a gas mask. The symbolism must be important, but it makes for a strangely unbalanced record: Hollywood is a screeching, almost unlistenable dirge, whilst by contrast There Must Be More Than Blood’s valedictory feel is hardly the work of a man dodging the bullet of commerciality.
Making A Door Less Open finds Will Toledo in a place as fractured as his new caricature. Clearly a stepping stone on the journey from one place to another, hindsight may reveal it as part of a grander design, but for now it offers too many loose ends.
You can read the full review here.