Review Summary: Is it still me that you love?
The Twilight Sad's history has been an unfortunately fitting one. While compatriots We Were Promised Jetpacks and Frightened Rabbit (RIP Scott) have found surprising popularity stateside, James Graham and company have taken hold as critically acclaimed cult favorites, and with their menacing and oblique sound, the shadows couldn't be a more apt resting place. The band derive power from gestures of meaning that sink their teeth into you and display unexpected depth without overtly revealing implicit definition. With its muscular and churning performance, you can chalk It Won/t Be Like This All The Time up as another sterling success, with welcome tweaks and exemplary craftsmanship.
Lumbering out of the smoldering pall of Nobody Wants To Be Here and Nobody Wants To Leave, IWBLTATT brings some aggression to the proceedings for the first time in a while. Graham is much less mantric here, more willing to take a song by the collar and wrest control from Andy McFarlane's enveloping sheets of guitar theatrics. Look no further than opener 10 Good Reasons For Modern Drugs, which is able to have it both ways and finds the pair, as well as keyboardist Brendan Smith, at the peak of their chemistry: the song begins as a grand swirl of synths and buzzsaw guitars as Graham ramps up in intensity until a showstopping howl of "the cracks all start to show!", only for it to close out on a white-hot tumult of guitar noise and buried yelps scraping at the edges. It is stunning in its impact as an intent of purpose and a fiery monolith of a song, one of the band's very best to date.
Of course, the rest of the album doesn't slouch by any stretch of the imagination. Just as impressive as the restored muscle to their sound is Graham's uncanny knack for memorable hooks. I/m Not Here (missing face) is claustrophobic and eerie until the shockingly dancey chorus enters, Graham emphasizing his Scottish burr to delirious heights while a fat synth line strobes in the background. Keep It All To Myself is a masterpiece of gritty synthpop, storming out the gates in media res as a tornado of warbling 80's keyboard smears, caterwauling guitars and thick bass, with one of Graham's more tuneful and romantic performances. While IWBLTATT continues on with the gloomy post-punk aesthetic of Nobody Wants To Leave, its blood unmistakably runs hot underneath. It's this marriage of brawn and beauty that the album hinges on, and the band frankly knock it out of the park, yet again. Step into the shadows while they're still your best-kept secret.