Album Review: The Twilight Sad - 'IT WON/T BE LIKE THIS ALL THE TIME'
Scotland's nearly men offer a noisy, propulsive odyssey which barely changes gear.
The Twilight Sad are definitely a band you have to "get". If Robert Smith had his way, they'd be the most gargantuan rock 'n' roll heritage act the world has ever seen, dwarfing Rolling Stones gigs and transmitting their doomy, emotional post punk omnidirectionally for the entire world to have no choice but to hear. But, somewhat unfairly due to their prolific string of albums and undeniable hard work, they're a band who have to rely on high profile support slots with bands such as The Cure and Mogwai to sustain them. They possess a loving fanbase but they've never quite made that crossover that a band like this need. With their contemporaries Editors, White Lies and The National experiencing periods of success throughout their career, The Twilight Sad need a record that's going to appeal to the masses that lie outside their fanship without disappointing those who are so loyal to them. Alas, whilst this album won't turn any fans to detractors; as such a push to the mainstream "It Won/t Be Like This All The Time" is a frustrating listen.
You've heard The Twilight Sad like this before, their sound hasn't been streamlined as much as being combined together from all their guises. There's propulsive krautrock style beats, soaring synths and impossibly noisy guitars- whats changed is the scope, the structures have been streamlined so much that verses are effectively single phrases and the choruses have been given jetpacks that propel them into arena style territory. Highlight "Let/s Get Lost" is a frantic burst of post-punk revival that Editors brought back to Britain ten years ago but with James Graham's chiorboy vocals straining the song into something else entirely, bursts of MBV style noise heighten the tension before the drums drag you surely but reluctantly to the dancefloor. Album closer "Videograms" is an epic, cinematic electro-rock stomper but these moments are few and far between on this album. Single "I/m Not Here [missing face]" is a slow burning reminder of where TTS came from and where they've arrived but makes very little sense in the album, sandwiched between songs which take equally as long to get nowhere. "[10 Good Reasons for Modern Drugs] starts the album in interesting fashion with a synth loop that threatens hypnotic beauty, but gets lost within the deafening noise and leaves the song without a purpose. The albums is given a second wind with the fantastically titled "Shooting Dennis Hopper Shooting" but ultimately it's these moments of up and down that impact so much on the overall listening experience of the record. James Graham's vocals are impassioned throughout the record and gives TTS an intriguing personality and their ability to emote in a genre that leaves little room for vulnerability continues to be astounding. But ultimately there's not enough direction paired with the obvious ambition here to make a truly great record.
Words by James Kitchen