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Nobody Wants To Be Here And Nobody Wants To Leave by The Twilight Sad
The Twilight Sad pull one out of the bag, hopefully there'll be more to come
On a recent trip to Glasgow I found myself singing songs in my head, a semi-regular occurrence for me, but on this occasion there was a difference, I was singing them in a ridiculous Glaswegian accent, attempting to sound like James Graham from The Twilight Sad. Luckily, I don't think any of this went anywhere outside of my head, otherwise I would have been severely punished by a Glasgow hard-case. Not that I saw any particular hard-cases on my travels, Glasgow being the beautiful, cultural metropolis that's produced so many great bands over the years. The Twilight Sad are from a small town just outside the city, but it's probably fair to say that those early experimental gigs there, at the legendary 13th Note would be where they learnt their craft and made their name. And make their name they did, debut Fourteen Autumns & Fifteen Winters is now correctly regarded as a classic, so much so that they toured it again this year (and it wasn't even a milestone anniversary!), but lately the band have been a little bit more pessimistic about their career (read: honest). In a recent, surprisingly candid interview with The Skinny, the band spoke about their frustration with the industry, hitting brick walls and having a rubbish year. All very ominous.
Their latest album Nobody Wants to Be Here and Nobody Wants to Leave, whilst reflective, is a world away from downbeat, the songs seem mostly hopeful, the choruses are reassuringly GIGANTIC and there's plenty of soaring guitars and walls of lovely feedback. Graham's distinctive enunciated vocal and a rich, multi-layered musical score are the now trademarks of this band, and their new record continues this tradition, but a bit of restraint allows a softer side to come through. Opener, "There's A Girl In The Corner" has some definite modern era-Mogwai flourishes, especially when the bass/synth kicks in, but there's also nods to early Electronica and the Gothic scene of the 1980s. It's a truly powerful opening gambit, and one which lingers in the mind long after the LP(/MP3) has stopped spinning. What follows is the sound of a band on a creative ascent, blasting through darker moments and always revealing something joyful in the process. At a time when certain press are throwing around worrying phrases like "make or break", The Twilight Sad have come up with their best album yet.
"Last January" - The Twilight Sad show their pop chops on this atmospheric nugget with a perfectly glistening chorus. With hints of Depeche Mode it's the sound of the band pushing towards something that resembles a pop single, even if it's a dark one that runs for over five minutes.
"Leave The House" - the band have a quiet moment... and then give up and make some noise for two minutes. Expertly overseen by Mark Devine's organ (on the quiet bit) and keyboard hook (on the loud bit). I think there's a bit of glockenspiel in there too.
"In Nowheres" - I can't help but compare this track to The Smiths' classic "Last Night I Dreamt That Somebody Loved Me", there's an eerie and somewhat depressing opening, it then kicks in suddenly, but doesn't get much brighter at first. The main draw here is the euphoric and electric third act with its deep crunching guitar and repetitive "Let 'em go" lyric which really gets under your skin. When The Twilight Sad are writing songs like this, they're pretty much unbeatable.