Review: Photographic Memory’s “Twirl Back” (ft. Rat Tally) Is an Angsty, Raw Emo Song for the 2020s

Photographic Memory © Tracy Nguyen
Photographic Memory © Tracy Nguyen
An angsty emo tune for the 2020s, Photographic Memory’s hauntingly raw “Twirl Back” (ft. Rat Tally) is an achingly visceral release that leaves us breathless and yearning for more.
for fans of Lake Saint Daniel, Phoebe Bridgers, American Football, Julien Baker, Rat Tally
Stream: “Twirl Back” – Photographic Memory




An angsty emo tune for the 2020s that leaves its listeners yearning for more, Photographic Memory’s second song of the year is an enchantingly intimate unveiling of raw emotion. Gorgeously melodic and hauntingly poignant, “Twirl Back” (featuring Rat Tally) is an achingly visceral release that leaves us breathless and moved.

Photographic Memory
Photographic Memory
hanging over the stairway
why’s it so hard to say anything?
reminiscing on our old ways
when it felt good to just sit and say nothing
waiting til you’re gone
I’m waiting til you’re gone
I’m twirling you all around
in my mind

Released February 12, 2021, “Twirl Back” is the latest single off Photographic Memory’s forthcoming self-titled sophomore album (out February 19, 2021). The artist moniker for Los Angeles-based producer/singer-songwriter Max Epstein, Photographic Memory has been an outlet for delving into the depths of dream-pop since since 2013. Epstein’s production credits include work with hardcore band Militarie Gun and alternative rock darlings Cold War Kids, but it’s his work as Photographic Memory that truly showcases his breadth and vision as an artist.

His latest record blends ’90s alternative influences with emo and even modern indie pop and folk sounds – one can’t help think of Phoebe Bridgers or even The 1975 at times – but Photographic Memory’s music is distinctly his: He subverts expectation and refuses to be put in a box. January’s brightly buoyant single “Hear Nothing” featured Sir Sly’s Landon Jacobs and a mesmerizing wash of effected vocals and guitars, and in contrast, “Twirl Back” is a stripped-back, slower paced, bittersweet overhaul that brings the likes of Julien Baker and Mike Kinsella to mind. A duet with Rat Tally’s Addy Harris (who was recently featured for her own single, “Shrug”), “Twirl Back” reckons in a dark space of self-doubt and disconnection, nostalgia and loss.

Photographic Memory © Tracy Nguyen
Photographic Memory © Tracy Nguyen

“I heard Addy’s song “Feel Something” on Spotify and immediately sent her a message through Instagram asking if she was down to collab and write a song,” Epstein recalls. “That week, she came by the studio and we made this one. Session was 10/10. Whole shit just fell into place.”

Driving back from the South Bay
I’ve been spiraling the whole ride home
Silence crept in took ahold of you
I’m trying not to read the room
waiting til you’re gone
I’m waiting til you’re gone
I’m twirling you all around
in my mind

Here and gone in two and half minutes, “Twirl Back” invites us to get lost in a hazy daze of dark dreams and soul-stirring memories.

It’s the perfect complement to New York’s dreary grey winter wonder, but the song manages to hit home no matter where or when you are. Get lost in waves of burned-out nostalgia with the help of “Twirl Back,” and stay tuned for Photographic Memory’s self-titled sophomore album, out February 19, 2021!

— —

:: stream/purchase Photographic Memory here ::
Stream: “Twirl Back” – Photographic Memory



— — — —

Photographic Memory

Connect to Photographic Memory on
Facebook, Twitter, Instagram
Connect to Rat Tally on
Facebook, Twitter, Instagram
Discover new music on Atwood Magazine
📸 © Tracy Nguyen
art © Jakob Longcob, Adrian Nieto

:: Stream Photographic Memory ::



More from Mitch Mosk

Review: “Communion” Has Us Dancing For Years & Years

RIYL: Michael Jackson, Frank Ocean, The 1975, Disclosure, Sir Sly ans of 1980s...
Read More