Post-punk indie rock outfit The Twilight Sad describe themselves as a ‘Scottish band who enjoy drinking and making miserable music’. So, probably not for those who want to jolly their way through another gloomy British winter, listening to nauseatingly cheerful pop tripe then. But, for the more discerning soul, those who prefer to wallow morosely in whiskey, Seasonal Affective Disorder and brilliantly bleak musical misery, ladies and gentlemen we have a winner.
The Sad’s latest album Nobody Wants to Be Here and Nobody Wants to Leave, released in October, is the auditory equivalent of a slap across the face, an assault of menacing, thundering sound and thickly rolling Scottish brogue.
The album kicks things off with darkly repetitious “There’s a Girl in the Corner”, where frontman James Graham’s ominous near-chant of ‘She’s not coming back’ echoes eerily over deliberately discordant snyth and guitar. Tracks “Last January” and “I Could Give You All That You Don’t Want” are more noticeably up-tempo, but by no means upbeat (don’t worry the boys are still definitely not happy chappies). “It Never Was the Same” utilises more lyrical repetitions and a strong percussionist bass line to good effect, ringing out like the tortured lament of a broken man.
The record perhaps loses a little momentum during the next two tracks, and I couldn’t help but be reminded of Mrs Doyle (of Father Ted fame) throughout “In Nowheres”, though I’m reasonably sure Graham isn’t actually singing ‘go on, go on go on’. Happily, things quickly pick up again with title track “Nobody Wants to Be Here and Nobody Wants to Leave”. Here, hauntingly beautiful vocals are backed by simplistic, fast-paced riffs, which crescendo into reverberating and drawn-out solitary notes, before falling away into nothingness at the song’s conclusion. The album concludes with the richly textured melody of “Sometimes I Wished I Could Fall Asleep”, where softer, stripped back vocals and more of the band’s signature wavering reverb combine to create an almost soothing finale.
Drawing on and refining a variety of styles and techniques from their previous albums, The Twilight Sad have created the ultimate soundtrack to any horrific relationship breakup you’ve ever had the misfortune to experience. Bitter, melancholy and tinged with anger and regret, this is powerful stuff. So, If you’re looking for the antidote to Band Aid 30 ‘reaching out and touching you’ (I know it’s for charity, but still!) or the song from that penguin advert this festive season, then I most definitely prescribe the Twilight Sad.
Nobody Wants to Stay Here and Nobody Wants to Leave was released 27th October 2014 on FatCat Records.