My favourite indie rock album of last year was easily Car Seat Headrest’s Teens of Denial, a messy, unhinged and epic record that served as a musical testament to frontman Will Toledo’s various breakdowns and neuroses. Full of dark and often hilarious self-deprecating lyrics set to soaring indie rock melodies, Teens of Denial makes stadium-sized singalongs out of social anxiety, and is packed front to back with unforgettable hooks. From the scatterbrained ‘Vincent’ to the sweeping ‘Cosmic Hero’, the endlessly catchy ‘Drunk Drivers/Killer Whales’ and the anthemic ‘Destroyed by Hippie Powers’(featuring one of the year’s best choruses), every song here is fantastic.
While the albums sequencing is a bit uneven (‘Cosmic Hero’ should definitely have been the closer), the slightly disjointed flow of the record gives it a charmingly homebrew quality, as does the raw production of these songs. This album retains the DIY aesthetic that made Toledo’s previous self-released albums so appealing, but reimagines it on a much grander and more ambitious scale. Teens of Denial could easily have been a lost classic from the golden era of 90s indie rock, but as it is it remains the best indie rock album of 2016, and one of the best of the decade so far.