Dramatic shoegazers and certifiable sad boys the Twilight Sad made a record with overwhelming emotional scope and weeping guitars back in 2012, known as 'No One Can Ever know'. Taking on different styles of sound but devoting themselves to a full-force, grandiose approach to feedback, 'Nobody Wants To Be Here & Nobody Wants To Leave' is an attempt to bring together other sounds that the band have been interested in, such as synths, playing with an orchestra and everything in between. As long as there's James Graham's voice navigating the gloomy proceedings, it'll sound like a Twilight Sad record.
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Only a short one, but I feel like I should get my thoughts on e-paper aka the Norman Records website.
This one is brilliant for when you're feeling a little off with the world and need to disconnect for a while. As per all The Twilight Sad records, Graham's lead vocals are as depressingly folky as ever and the continuously droney sound of the bass guitar fits so perfectly with every chord of the piano or hit of a drum. Such a great record. Not only is it great for old fans, but it's also such an accessible record for new fans who feel like they've got a big rock/folk shaped Glaswegian hole in their heart.
On first few listens I agreed completely with Mike's review above. The album seemed to be a competent update on the Twilight Sad sound of murky, moody post-punk. A pleasant ride but nothing to get too excited about. The more I listen to it though the more I realise that this is a superb album. You have to be in the right mood for it, it's dark and moody sounding and the hooks take a while to really take hold.
Although there are undoubted highlights, the album is greater than the sum of its parts and you kind of have to go with it and listen all the way through, preferably while staring out a window into the winter gloom. A band that consistently make great records, though I've found with the last two that they don't immediately reveal their true colours. Patience, my friends, patience.
This week sees the return of The Twilight Sad, with another album of their maudlin sweeping drama-rock. Loads of you bought their previous album 'No One Can Ever Know' so I dare say a few people will have been looking forward to this one. They're continuing their shift from the downcast folk-noise of their earlier releases into a slick and ambitious stadium indie chug'n'plod full of skyscraping dynamic shifts and sad but catchy melodies.
The sanding down of some of their harsher edges seems like a bit of a shame because that was kind of their unique selling point, and at times the music seems newly-anonymised, with singer James Graham's Scottish accent seeming a little reined in compared to previously too. The result is a perfectly competent album of moody pop that suggests their transformation into the Scottish National is nearly complete, but fails to really ignite much of a spark of empathy or excitement in me. It's fine, I can listen to the whole thing without getting annoyed, but it does give me the sad feeling that they're getting too comfortable and refining away their idiosyncrasies. 'In Nowheres' stands out, blending this more widescreen sound with the grunting distortion of earlier releases and weird touches of '80s power-ballad synth, and there's a nice shoegazey wibble hovering over the track which follows it, but these are exceptions in an otherwise insipid collection. Not dreadful just dreary, not turgid just tepid.
7/10 Andrew Revis 23rd April 2015
An undeniably unique proposition, both live and on record, The Twilight Sad used to respond to any and all pontifications about their sound and style by describing themselves as 'just a noisy folk band'. Back in 2007 when the band released that miraculous, life-affirming, bone-rattling, debut album 'Fourteen Autumns And Fifteen Winters', 'the moment shoegaze met hardcore' seemed to be a recurring theme. 'Cheerless drone-folk' and 'mope-rock' were other favourites. Whatever - recorded in just three days and released to a, shall we say, select group of music enthusiasts, 'Fourteen Autumns...' is almost as astonishing to listen to now as it was eight years ago, James Graham's strong Scottish burr and Andy MacFarlane's squawking slide-guitar combining in a torrent of impassioned noise and skyscraping melodies.
Two years later 'Forget The Night Ahead' somehow managed to be even louder, the subtle but glorious hooks drenched in wave upon wave of feedback and sustain and distortion and delay and flange and tremolo - the sound of the skies caving in during a particularly noisy apocalypse; verses melting into choruses and stretching on forever, lines taking over from each other like a relay. Stunning.
But on album three the band decided noise alone wasn't the best means of waking the dead, so turned instead to goth-techno, or something. The industrial 'No One Can Ever Know' is a terrifying retro-futuristic Casio nightmare, jarring, traumatic and desolate. That uncertain dark grandeur, glitchy and pulsating, conspired to conceal some potentially great melodic moments, which had many, myself included, worried that the band's days of melancholic majesty were behind them.
And so we come, ominously, to album number four. Now risking self-parody with the darker than dark title and artwork alone, never mind some of the song titles, 'Nobody Wants To Be Here And Nobody Wants To Leave' is riddled with reverb and synth washes, moving the band even closer to all those seminal miserabilists like Joy Division, Nine Inch Nails, Aereogramme, The Cure and Depeche Mode. But while it retains 'No One Can Ever Know''s ability to haunt your dreams, it mercifully adds some of the melodic sensibilities of those first two records: 'I Could Give You All That You Don't Want' grabs you by the neck and drags you round the dancefloor; 'It Was Never The Same' sounds like a grown man's heart breaking, but still hops along nicely; and album-standout 'Drown So I Can Watch' is as compelling as it is harrowing.
To be forever reminded of a classic debut with every subsequent release must be frustrating for any band (see also Interpol); The Twilight Sad have always taken this with grace and gratitude, meanwhile developing and evolving a sound - a genre, even - all of their own. So while not as ferocious as those early releases, this one nevertheless more than holds attention. How wonderful it is to have them back on such fine form.
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