The Twilight Sad
Fourteen Autumns and Fifteen Winters



by FloatFarRemote USER (6 Reviews)
June 27th, 2010 | 30 replies

Release Date: 2007 | Tracklist

Review Summary: A stunning debut, only let down by the fact that I cannot make love to a disc.

Some bands wear their hearts on their sleeves, and that's fine. Some bands like to muddle their lyrics up so as to make them less personal and, ergo, easier to put out there to the scrutiny (and possible aggression) of the general music-buying populace. The Twilight Sad, a shoegaze/post-rock group from Kilsyth, near Glasgow, are very interesting in this regards in that the lyrics are always intense, half-sung, half-roared affairs, but the meaning isn't always readily applicable. From just the earnestness of the words and the manner in which they are delivered, it is abundantly clear that they mean a great deal to their vocalist, James Graham.

The music is the perfect twin of the lyrics - dreamy block of keyboard-induced white noise, stellar bursts of guitar majesty, and fierce and atmospheric drums. The album kicks off with "Cold Days From The Bird House", the very definition of 'well-built'; We hear it being constructed from nothing but rough ambient noises, and a beautiful acoustic guitar passage, eventually being joined with some out-of-this-world drums, absolutely working overtime, and the truly, truly wonderous shoegaze passage rears it's gorgeous wee head at around the halfway mark, and then you know. You just KNOW: Special band, special album. The lyrics from "Cold Days.." paint a picture at once both vague and vivid, although most definitely situated in an environment of longing and regret,

"Another hotel
with ruined plans
Romantic gesture
with ruined plans

And so you make it your own
But this is where your arm can't go
You make it your own"

All sung in James's customary Scottish burr, seeming more like a storm given voice than a man feeling bad for himself. He's simply telling how he feels. And when the utterly heart-rendering, melodically-rich call of, "And your red sky at night won't follow me, it won't follow me now", reaches your ears, you'll be left gobsmacked.

Another track rich in musical and lyrical layers in which to lose yourself is, "That Summer, At Home I had Become The Invisible Boy". The opening keyboard/guitars sound submerged under water, all echoes and nuances, until a huge, precise, almost-martial drumbeat enters the fold, taking charge. I always found it very interesting how James chose the age for the titular "Invisible Boy", during the song to be 14, rather than the more common 16. Although, upon thinking about it, even though 16 is the time normally associated with great changes both physical and mental, 14 is when we really first begin to see these, and the lyrics back this theory up:

"I'm 14, and you know,
That I'm looking the wrong way
And is the past outside
Or in this lovely home

A strong father figure
And with a heart of gold
A loving mother, a loving mother

They're standing outside
And they're looking in."

The guitars in this track are bigger, more effect-laden than "Cold Days," and also a lot more easier of hearing, coming in at the forefront in a glorious segment of noise and feedback strewn all over the music pallete, and hearing James scream his throat out to tell us, "The cunt sits at his desk, and he's plotting away", is nothing but genius: a pure, unbriddled moment of all the different aspects of songwriting and musicianship coming together to form a much greater whole.

Some of the lyrics are truly captivating in their simplicity and effectiveness, some of which include this snippets:

"Comments and memories attached
And when there's no one there,
But the legs are open
And I'm blind.

So why can't you come around,
And why can't you watch the ground

And your green eyes turn to blue,
You're always, you're always,
Fishing for the truth."

("I'm Taking The Train Home")

The culmination of lyrical simplicity and creative, thought-provoking imagery comes in "Last Year's Rain Didn't Fall Quite So Hard", with James informing us in a child-like melody amongst a haze of nostalgic keyboard noise, "She sings with a hole in her skin,
I only want to say good-bye". This could mean anything, but nothing is readily given away (a trait with a lot of Twilight Sad lyrics), always keeping you thinking, looking for the meaning.

The Twilight Sad's best effort at marrying spectacular, open lyrics to vast, chaotic music must undoubtedly come with "And She Would Darken The Memory Of Youth", the lyrics are an anthemic chant, a rousing demand for change

"And head up dear, you're shallow and blind
And head up dear, the rabbit might die
Because I'm putting the boot in tonight
..Friendly faces with put-on smiles,
a drunken mind-game passed.
Because I'm putting the boot in tonight."

The drums fade in from a cacophony of maze-like keyboard effects, playing a fast, complex beat over the most beautiful shoe-gaze guitar I've heard in recent memory, alternatively speeding up and opening up even more, threatening to envelope even the drums, before tightening back up and setting the scene for the lyrics. The vocals are discarded halfway through the song, leaving the latter half an instrumental beauty, all chimming guitar, bass highlighting and ennunciating, the drums never letting up for even a second.

It has, just now upon rereading my review, how purple-prose my descriptions and how pedantic and apparently-hyperbole-esque some of my praise may seem - this is not exaggeration, intentional or otherwise, this is the only way to properly describe how I feel about this album.

If you're looking for a lyrically-minimalist, musically and vocally-maximalist record with beauty around ever corner, this is for you.

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user ratings (147)

Comments:Add a Comment 
June 27th 2010


too many reviews.

June 27th 2010


in before lewis

June 27th 2010


Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

love this album.

review is a bit of a mess.

Use less lyric blocks, they're just distracting.

June 27th 2010


Album Rating: 4.0

Cold Days is such an awesome opener

June 27th 2010


in for lewis

Album is like being 16 all over again. For the review, you should avoid doing explicit track-by-track reviews and opt for more cohesive descriptions. This reads like a lot of many track write-ups strung together. You'd do well to use the personal effect the album has on you to illustrate how powerful the album is but here the review does kind of get bogged in the first person narrative. Less like a 5 and more like 5yperbole

Digging: Storm and Stress - Under Thunder and Fluorescent Light

June 27th 2010


love the album, but this review is messy

Staff Reviewer
June 27th 2010


Album Rating: 4.0

first two tracks are ridiculous, rest is still good but not as

February 3rd 2011


Album Rating: 4.5

jesus christ this is amazing

March 21st 2013


oh man that scottish accent somehow makes this ten times more affecting

Digging: Apple Light - Are You Happy Now?

April 8th 2013


Album Rating: 4.0

awesome shieettetttete

April 8th 2013


the only bad part about this album is that the rest of it can't quite match the first song

April 8th 2013


Album Rating: 4.0

more bands need scottish accents. just fake it who cares

April 8th 2013


YES. it's my favorite accent, especially in a musical context

April 8th 2013


Album Rating: 4.0

ha no doubt. what other bands even have them? im not very up to date with the scottish music scene. wasnt the cranberries chick scottish? or was she irish idk but she sounded cool.

April 8th 2013


the cranberries were irish yeah. ugh, i'm drawing a blank atm I know there are a couple of mogwai songs with vocals that
have the accent. oh and biffy clyro

May 2nd 2013


Album Rating: 4.0

Check out We Were Promised Jetpacks for some sweet Scottish accents, in fact, the whole FatCat label is filled with them. Other bands from the top of my head include: Frightened Rabbit, There Will Be Fireworks, King Creosote and The John Knox Sex Club.

July 11th 2014


Album Rating: 4.0

makes me want to curl up in bed and sleep away the next year

Contributing Reviewer
August 9th 2014


Album Rating: 4.0

Seeing this played in full tomorrow. Yussss!

August 9th 2014


Album Rating: 4.0

duuude niiiiceee

September 25th 2014


Album Rating: 4.0

God this rules so much

Digging: Penfold - Amateurs and Professionals

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