Review Summary: Scottish quartet combine elements Alt-Rock, Shoegaze and Post-Rock to good effect debut EP.
Scottish accents (in music) have never really held a place in my heart. Sure, Gary Lightbody (of the hugely popular Snow Patrol) is pretty decent on some songs and My Latest Novel’s Chris Deveney can definitely pull it off, but something about the accent in general throws me off. Such is the case for James Graham, whose thick accent cuts through his songs like knife. Musically though, Lightbody and co. don’t have a thing on Mr. Graham and his band, The Twilight Sad.
All throughout the band’s debut, The Twilight Sad EP
, and its successor Fourteen Autumns, Fifteen Winters
, The Twilight Sad stick to a relatively basic formula: Alterna-Pop, not unlike countrymen Snow Patrol or even Bends-era Radiohead, mixed with some Folk and Post-Rock influences (Fat Cat label mates Animal Collective and Sigur Ros come to mind) layered in the same kind of noise and fuzz that would be found on a My Bloody Valentine record. That Summer, At Home I Had Become the Invisible Boy
, a track that would appear on the group’s proper debut, proves this point. Drummer Mark Devine’s tom pounding keeps rhythm underneath a distant sounding accordion. As the song kicks into overdrive, Graham’s soft, sometimes violently strained vocals assure us that “That Summer” has set the bar high for the second half of the EP.
Opener, But When She Left, Gone was the Glow
starts out quiet enough: the first half features little more than an incessant loop of background noise, subtle accordion and one of Graham’s more enjoyable performances. This all changes when the rest of band crashes in, brilliant, fuzzed out guitar work and pounding, cymbal heavy drum parts at the ready. Unfortunately for the listener, the last three tracks (two of which appear on Fourteen Autumns
) on the EP don’t really touch on the brilliance of the either of the first two tracks. Three Seconds of Dead Air
, the album’s borderline epic 8-minute closer comes closest. Graham’s lyrics (strained shouts “your thoughts are clear”
and I’m thinking about you
) are simple yet, combined with the ultra fuzz of his backing music, powerful. Overall, The Twilight Sad are definitely a band worth checking out. The last breathes of their self titled EP come in the form of a minute long decrescendo. The last words of this review come in the form of my name.