The return of The Twilight Sad is one of the many things that we should be genuinely excited about in British music this year. The Kilsyth quartet caused a quiet storm with their astonishing debut ‘Fourteen Autumns And Fifteen Winters’, an unsettling collection of modern folk tales, delivered with spittle and mudslides of Mogwai-esque noise. This cacophonous poetry sounded like many things, but the sum of the parts burned with a rare fervour.
Now, the foundations are in place for the band to further bolster their reputation with ‘Forget The Night Ahead’. Whether or not it will be a career-defining album, however, is less of a sure thing. James Graham’s snarling twang is as gloriously grating as it always was, but the music has moved on, and not always to the same intriguing places.
Much of the warmth that could be found on ‘Fourteen Winters…’ has been shed in the pursuit of a harder, more direct sound. While it works to thrilling effect on tracks like ‘I Became A Prostitute’ or ‘Birthday Present’ – all divebombing guitars and wall-splattering drums – it leaves ‘Reflection Of The TV’ and ‘Interrupted’ sounding rather like a Scottish Interpol. Acceptable? Yes, but The Twilight Sad needn’t – and shouldn’t – walk in anyone’s shadow.
The group have made clear their intentions of pushing their aesthetic, and that’s laudable. However, it feels as though they’ve moved further towards their peers rather than maintaining the regal distance they had afforded themselves previously. ‘Forget The Night Ahead’ is not the album that will see The Twilight Sad fulfil their artistic potential, though, vitally, it provides enough to suggest that record cannot be far away.
Words by Neil Condron