Music

What's in a Name?

The Twilight Sad Are Not Sad

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I was initially hesitant about the Twilight Sad for a number of reasons. First, their name is terrible. How can you keep a straight face when telling someone you've been listening to a lot of the Twilight Sad? You might as well tell them you really love From Autumn to Ashes. Second, this foursome is from Glasgow. Granted, Glasgow is one of my favorite cities in terms of creating music (Teenage Fanclub, Belle & Sebastian, Orange Juice, etc.), but locale, plus band name, seemed to equal one distinct recipe: predictable, sad, indiepop songs. Finally, the first single they released for their new album, Fourteen Autumns & Fifteen Winters, is entitled "That Summer, At Home I Had Become the Invisible Boy." Emo alert! And while emo is typically right up my alley, it appeared the Twilight Sad had the exact formula down, one that left no room for experimentation outside the twee corner they had painted themselves into. How terribly, terribly wrong I was.

This album is epic, with a capital "E." Full of post-rock, crescendo-ing guitars—similar to the louder parts of fellow city-mates Mogwai—and there is not a single ounce of silence on this album. Using white noise as the veritable fifth man, tape-loops, drones, and accordion make Fourteen Autumns a contender as the fullest-sounding album of the year, if not the best attempt at channeling early U2 by boldly reaching for the stars.

The vocals are deep and gruff, the complete antithesis of what has become known as the Scotland sound. These are not just songs about rejection, there is actually physical pain behind that accent, singing lines like, "I've watched you grow cold/And there's no tears left." Never mind what this band looks like on paper, they are creating legitimately powerful pop-influenced songs chock-full of despair, channeling the best of what Glasgow has to offer while remaining completely compelling and original—something I admittedly didn't expect I would be able to give them credit for, but am happy to do now.

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