The Twilight Sad
Fat Cat Records
4 out of 5
It was 2009 when the last Twilight Sad LP was released and from the sounds of their latest – No One Can Ever Know – you’d be forgiven for thinking that it hasn’t all been bouncy castles and Haribo for the Kilsyth outfit. But what did you expect? What has changed in the two years past, if not a change from the staple atmosphere of melancholic angst, is an evolution from quaggy, guitar laden fuzz to a refined and directed sound which has a post-punk sensibility and an awareness of electrical production beyond the volume control.
A layer of marsh sodden guitar is perhaps not the ideal foundation for building a factory of clangour and din and it’s often the case that the album feels as though it’s sinking in on itself. But this doesn’t get in the way. Long drawn breaths of accordion wheeze out against James Graham’s trademark vocals: “So sick to death of the sight of you now / safe to say I’ve never wanted you more”, these lines of confliction are delivered with a bawl of self assuredness. Elsewhere, guitars are skull scratching in tandem with mechanical drums and synthesised organs. Where drum machines are used, they pip and pap frantically like heart murmurs giving the album a sense of bodily malaise as much as it feels industrial and distant.
It often feels like a necessary thing for gloomy guitar bands to go down the path of Moog synthesiser and laptops (Radiohead, Editors, Joy Division?) and it’s for this fact that the album doesn’t quite surprise and often takes a few listens to appreciate the brittle machinations. Indeed, it doesn’t have the same overwhelming effect of past albums but its overlapping structures bring that melancholic angst to the fore as something far more threatening and invasive, really getting under the skin.