It’s a testament to how far The Twilight Sad have come when one considers they were once regarded as a shoegazing act. In recent years they have sounded more “not of this earth” than ever before yet their concerns always seem to be earthbound, largely thanks to James Alexander Graham’s haunting tales of childhood torment. The most noticeable change this time is the introduction of synths to their repertoire.
The first standout moment arrives two songs in. ‘Dead City’ is underscored by a thrilling rhythmic undertow made up of droning synths and intense percussion. For once The Twilight Sad do resemble another band; were it not for Graham’s distinctive vocals, the song would have fitted in well on Editors’ most recent album. ‘Sick’ is also synth driven but it’s helped along its way by a sombre slice of chiming guitar whereas a centrepiece entitled ‘Nil’ is uplifted by an almost serene wash of keyboards to counter the lyrical anguish of Graham.
If there is a black mark against The Twilight Sad it’s that some of their songs do not linger long in the memory even if the words do and therefore the listening process can occassionally be hard-going. Still, when your band can come up with a track as heart-stoppingly urgent as ‘Another Bed’ towards the end of the album, hearing about someone’s personal anguish becomes altogether more attractive.
After experiencing the album end to end a number of times, the synth and metronomic rhythm approach really does draw close parallels to the third album by Editors. However, Graham is the dominant presence as ever; his doomy involvement may be the reason The Twilight Sad are too disturbing for them to be better known but more importantly he is the catalyst to what makes the band unique and vital.
The Twilight Sad Official Site