[sic] Magazine

The Twilight Sad – No One Can Ever Know

This third outing from The Twilight Sad marks yet another stylistic shift and surely establishes the Kilsyth act as one of the best bands operating today. No One Can Ever Know is in stark contrast to its predecessor Forget The Night Ahead . That record was a dense, restless, fever-sleep of an album. This latest album seems to be taking its cues from late seventies post-punk, with its spacious production and dispassionate delivery. Odd for me to think back to the first time I heard The Twilight Sad debut Fourteen Autumns & Fifteen Winters . As much as I loved that record I still harboured misgivings that the band might have its limitations. The debut added little to the earlier self-titled EP and I couldn’t help but wonder whether a lack of variety might hold them back from a really meaningful career. Not so. The Twilight Sad have more than nuanced each album, and I for one am happy to be proven wrong.

No One Can Ever Know is, to early post punk what 28 Days Later was to 70’s science fiction. Analogue synths and dour basslines accentuate a retro-futuristic vibe. Most reviews have gone for the Joy Division angle. (Rolls eyes) Actually I think they’re probably right, without realising why. Clearly The Twilight Sad sound nothing like the iconic Factory band. Yet there has always been something in The Twilight Sad’s material and performance that recalls the terrible attraction of Ian Curtis . Troubled subject matter, haunted delivery and the growing feeling of unease that comes with the reaslisation that some of this might be real, this reminds me of Joy Division. And indeed The Twilight Sad have always shown this going right back to the early days when they sounded like Proclaimer -fronted Kitchens Of Distinction .

Sonically, this record is probably closer to other post punk acts such as PIL , Cabaret Voltaire or even John Foxx era Ultravox . Important to emphasise we’re talking about more than mere homage here. This record does not look back to the past. Somehow, it takes us back there to look forward to the present. No One Can Ever Know can do this because the same conditions exist – welfare cuts, social disorder, suffocating economic decline, as did in 1979. Correspondingly those same futures as imagined by the likes of JG Ballard , Burgess and Bradbury seem even more likely now because we see them coming true.

Thus with the morbid fascination of crash witnesses we’ll keep coming back to The Twilight Sad. We’re drawn in. They affect us more than other bands because of their authenticity. The Twilight Sad are for real . It’s a disagreeable term but it applies nevertheless. It also makes them a tough listen at times. They may have dressed their latest offering in a new wave sheen but the familiar, ‘Twilight Sad’ themes of dysfunctional families, dark secrets and breakdown remain. No One Can Ever Know is the sound of urban decay in a dystopian future but the neglected, crumbling concrete serves only as a metaphor for a far more internal process. The soundtrack, then, of the human condition.

And we were hoping the winter was over?
God help us.

Album of the year so far.

The Twilight Sad

Fat Cat