Tuesday, 28 October 2014

Flynndie Reviews #51: The Twilight Sad - Nobody Wants To Be Here and Nobody Wants To Leave

Written 28th October 2014:

The Twilight Sad – Nobody Wants to be here and Nobody Wants to Leave

The Band: James Graham (vocals), Andy MacFarlane (guitars) Mark Devine (Drums), Johnny Doherty (bass)

This week sees the return of Scottish alternative-rockers The Twilight Sad with this their fourth album ‘Nobody Wants to be here and Nobody Wants to Leave’.  Originally hailing from Kilsyth, Scotland the band have built a loyal and dedicated following with three well-received albums under their belts from their full-debut record ‘Fourteen Autumns and Fifteen Winters’ receiving critical-acclaim back in 2007, followed by 2009’s excellent, brooding and guitar-distortion heavy second-album ‘Forget the Night Ahead’.  2012 saw the band’s third album ‘No One Can Ever Know’ still capturing the band’s intense and cavernous live sound while the record was more laced with synths and electronics throughout, now leading us up to this week’s latest album release.

Nobody Wants to be here and Nobody Wants to Leave

1.     There’s A Girl In The Corner
2.     Last January
3.     I Could Give You All That You Don’t Want
4.     It Never Was The Same
5.     Drown So I Can Watch
6.     In Nowheres
7.     Nobody Wants to Be Here and Nobody Wants to Leave
8.     Pills I Swallow
9.     Leave The House
10.  Sometime I Wish I Could Fall Asleep

With a nicely picked electric-guitar riff and an arena-filling drum-rhythm ‘There’s a Girl in the Corner’ opens the record with distinct backing-synths helping to set the dark, haunting tone for this album alongside James’ distinctly Scottish vocals “You’re not coming back/She’s not coming back for more…There’s a girl in the corner/and she’s crying for you”.  It’s a slow-burner and deliberately crafted track that sets the early dark tone for ‘Nobody Wants to be Here’.  Second-track ‘Last January’, previously previewed by the band online and in recent live performances, has a more up-tempo rhythm and percussion to it with spooky synths and a nice bridge “And they say you can’t be won/And it’s your eyes…touching my eyes”.  ‘I Could Give You All That You Don’t Want’ continues with another upbeat tempo and particularly a driving bass-line at its heart from Johnny intertwined with electric-guitar strums from Andy before we have a stand-out track on the record ‘It Never Was The Same’.  Initially another slowed-down, synth-driven song it has real endearing and touching vocals midway through the track from James “So we danced to save them all/We asked to save them all/We tried to save them all/You didn’t have to kill them all”.  This track is a strong highlight early on in the record.
  • The Twilight Sad previously stormed through a headline set at The Boston Rooms, Camden
‘Drown So I Can Watch’ despite being a brutally bleak track-title sees guitars and bass pulse this track along, while James’ vocals portray a rocky relationship between a couple “I put you through hell/But you carried it all so well/You carried it all so well”.  This is a heartfelt, honest track yet with a captivating, alluring charm about it.  Midway through the record ‘In Nowheres’ is the loudest track on the album so far, featuring heavy guitar-riffs from Andy and James’ vocals coming across with a distant effect here creating a broad and large sounding rock-track, before title-track ‘Nobody Wants to Be Here and Nobody Wants to Leave’ sees guitars, bass, synths and percussion all chug-away together in union as one with the real-focus on James’ cryptic story-telling here “Can you stay tomorrow?/You won’t leave tomorrow/I don’t know where we went wrong?”  This an atmospheric, brooding track, a featured trademark sound of The Twilight Sad.

‘Pills I Swallow’ is another bleak track-title but also another charmer of a track, again with a haunting sound about it featuring a sweet, twinkling gentle synth-melody hand-holding the track along nicely “It’s you/It’s always you/Telling me what to do”.  It’s like the soundtrack to an eerie, unrequited fairy-tale.  Lovely stuff.  Penultimate track ‘Leave the House’ is another, stripped-down, slower affair with organ-like synths and gentle percussion featuring alongside James’ dulcet tones gently repeating lines “And I see you/I see you/It’s lonely in the dark/Lonely in the dark” and more intensely further into the song “I’ve been put to bed/I’ve been put bed/I’ve been put to bed/I don’t know what you know” with a more rocky guitar-riff midway through the track, before we have album closer ‘Sometimes I Wish I Could Fall Asleep’.  Again another stripped-down haunting track with gentle piano notes being featured here it’s very much a closing ballad for the record with soft percussion coursing throughout it and crisp, tender vocals here again from James “You don’t love me anymore/You don’t need me anymore/And we’ve been left behind” and is possibly the most moving track on the album.

‘Nobody Wants to be here and Nobody Wants to Leave’ doesn’t pull any punches with its content; it’s a dark, bleak and brutally honest record yet at the same time an amazingly haunting and beautiful piece of work all the same which flourishes with repeated listens.  If you’re familiar with the band’s previous albums you will have expected nothing less here but let’s be clear here that The Twilight Sad are a band that masterfully hone and carefully craft the songs that they write and this album arguably sees the band at the height of their song-writing.  As I say I found this to be a tender and sublime record, that has a tendency to reveal further charms with repeated listens and I’m going to give this one 9/10 as it’s refreshing to see a band, pushing and challenging themselves to create a sound that’s really true to them.  I highly recommend to watch the acoustic session below to see the amazingly beautiful sound the band create on this latest record.    

It Never Was the Same

Track 1 ‘There’s a Girl in the Corner’

Track 2 ‘Last January’

The Twilight Sad - Acoustic Session for Tenement TV

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