Sonically, lyrically and vocally, The Twilight Sad are never going to be a pop group and the Scottish band know this all too well. Vocalist James Graham is under no illusion where his band sit in the grand scheme of things. “I love being in this band, it’s everything to me. I want to play big gigs, small gigs. I just want to write and play music for as long as I can. We don’t write pop songs (p.s. I love pop songs) so I don’t think we’ll ever really break into the mainstream” is Graham’s self-assessment of The Twilight Sad; suffice to say, Katy Perry won’t be looking over her shoulder for the Glaswegians any time soon. But what The Scots lack in teeny-bop songs and squirty cream firing bras, they make up for in a depth of sound, that’s brooding, dense and ever-so macabre.
‘Nobody Wants To Be Here and Nobody Wants To Leave’ is the group’s fourth LP, and it’s the culmination of TTS’s last eight years of experimenting, touring and toiling away at being a band that doesn’t shy away from lending their collective hand to different, challenging soundscapes.
Nobody Wants To Be Here and Nobody Wants To Leave in title alone will strike a familiar dichotomy; be it that hometown you’ll never escape but have little inclination to do so or your comfort zone dead end job you strive to leave but seldom attempt to do anything about it. TTS have tapped into that tense mind set of frustration and longing for something better but with shards of hopelessness popping any balloons of optimism that might waft by. Aurally, ‘NWTBHABWTL’ crackles with a static fuzz that has Graham’s abrasive Scottish brogue cutting through the fog like full beam headlights. The title track is the album’s core, with a slow grinding fug that’s underpinned by a lonesome trill of horns that swell with a weather beaten defiance. As if to mimic the band’s moniker, a lot of ‘NWTBHABWTL’s sonic palette is stuck in a perpetual loop between night and day; ‘It Never Was The Same’ finds glimmers of light breaking through the clouds but nocturnal aesthetics win overall. “You said love will never die” Graham murmurs over celestial synths, like a man watching the last embers of affection turning to ash. ‘In Nowheres’ reflects on the dead of night and has Graham menacingly declaring “no more nightmares” in more of a pleading tone for the terrors to stop as opposed to a positive stance that they’ll never happen again. Further song titles, ‘Drown So I Can Watch’, ‘Sometimes I Wished I Could Fall Asleep’ and ‘Pills I Swallow’ add further illustration to the unit’s gloomy persona.
At times Nobody Wants To Be Here and Nobody Wants To Leave is a desolate landscape to traverse but through the darkness there’s rich, layered batch of songs waiting in the murk.
Word and Thoughts of Adam Williams