[sic] Magazine

The Twilight Sad – Fourteen Autumns & Fifteen Winters – Expanded Edition.

I don’t remember the spark but the ignition will linger long in the memory. The Twilight Sad delivered their 2007 debut seemingly out of nowhere, (although cynics might equate North Lanarkshire to a kind of musical nowhere). It was one of those ‘once heard, never forgotten’ moments. An exercise in shimmering rage.

There’s so much going on in this record that I could write a book. I shouldn’t though. I mustn’t. Fourteen Autumns & Fifteen Winters deserves your attention, not for me to lose it. This was a bold, noisy debut, the guitars almost impenetrable at times. Yet …Winters was also a subtle, inclusive record, evocative of a childhood I never had. (Thank God I never had) Are we calling The Twilight Sad shoegaze? For me they evoked Kitchens Of Distinction and Julian Swales chiming guitar maelstrom. Certainly the two ‘tent peg’ singles, ‘And She Would Darken The Memory’ plus of course the classic, essential, ‘That Summer, At Home I Had Become The Invisible Boy’ (Those titles!) recall the Kitchens sure-footed early work. The wall of sound is strongly reminiscent but with The Twilight Sad these walls are filled with blame. Fourteen Autumns & Fifteen Winters dazzles, but leaves its listener scarred and flinching.

The lyrical themes on …Winters are not for the feint hearted. This is disturbing material taking in accusation, abuse and neglect. Children are often present against a background of almost constant menace. The purpose was never shock value. James Graham needed to exorcise some highly personal demons, whether real or imagined (hopefully imagined) in much the same way as Joy Division’s troubled singer Ian Curtis. This is their truth. As the realisation hits home, …Winters becomes a heightened listening experience, stamped through with authenticity. Revisiting again today, seven years on, I almost forget to breathe. Those words. That voice. This is real music for real music fans.

Now, for Record Store Day 2014, the band release this expanded version of their debut. The deluxe double vinyl is limited to 500 and contains unseen artwork, never-before-heard tracks ,and the remastered debut in full. If you already have the Twilight Sad EP, interest in the ‘extras’ may well be limited to the evolution of the band sound. However there is one absolute pearl in the form of the colossal ‘Untitled 4’. Shades of Afghan Whigs here, Twilight Sad fans will lap this one up. Indeed, the hardcore fanbase will appreciate all of these rarities but the parent album holds the wider appeal. The band may have re-released it to celebrate RSD but it is Fourteen Autumns & Fifteen Winters which is most deserving of celebration, an adrenaline shot to the safe, magnolia indie-rock of the time.

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Album of the year 2012