[sic] Magazine

The Twilight Sad – Nobody Wants to Be Here and Nobody Wants to Leave

Once again The Twilight Sad have delivered a fully rounded album in the old sense of the word. i.e. a body of work rather than a collection of songs. I’m used to their LPs having strong opening tracks but ‘There’s A Girl In The Corner’ (yes we’re back to long titles) might just be the best so far. A heavily synthesized bass recalls Radiohead’s ‘All I Need’ but the rest of the arrangement pulsates with chiming guitars and an explosive conclusion. How do they do it? How do they keep eclipsing their previous work? The aptly named ‘Last January’ is the only song here that looks back to the sparse, dystopian post-punk of predecessor album, No One Will Ever Know. This latest offering is warmer and more luxuriant, an early sign that NWTBHaNWTL may be ‘Spring’ compared to the harsh ‘Winter’ of No One… Even bleak waltz ‘It was never the same’ conceals a rousing chorus and ‘Drown So I Can Watch’ is downright ‘catchy’ although that title would challenge most radio station producers.

If NWTBHaNWTL is a journey then the destination has to be ‘In Nowhere’s’. This isn’t the final track but it sure is the climax. ‘In Nowhere’s’ is a stunning, cathartic windtunnel blast – a maelstrom we’re happy to submit to. I would place it alongside Puressence’s ‘India’ or anything by The God Machine for sheer arena angst. If this were a gig they’d surely go off afterwards. “No more nightmares” proclaims James Graham. We, on the other hand, are thinking the total opposite.


Those ‘nightmares’ are the secret of The Twilight Sad. Literally so, Graham has steadfastly refused to explain his lyrics. Probably wise. Let the ambiguity hang while listener imaginations do the rest. The difficult subject matter that he suggests (neglect, abuse etc) hardly seem the stuff of popular entertainment. Yet here they hold a dark fascination. We’re drawn like moths to the flame. His phrasing and delivery are equally important though. Grahams broad Lanarkshire accent has always been a thing of joy (those r sounds!) but it is the way the frontman assembles words that truly captivates. “Put your toys away”, “Don’t you dare” – they could be everyday utterances but in the world of The Twilight Sad we flinch away as though being scolded by a Victorian Grandparent. These lyrics resonate so powerfully because they are recognisable and real. Authenticity sets The Twilight Sad apart from the current crop of angst rockers. They’re stylish for sure but there’s real substance to back it up.

Having climaxed prematurely the albums remaining four songs are more downtempo. Music shimmers, static crackles and the vocals are half buried by echo. The title track revisits the bands shoegaze roots. The rest flit, flicker and fade. As the distant cries of playing children ease us toward the records conclusion I’m put in mind of The Smiths final body of work, Strangeways, Here We Come. Strangeways.. (also a fourth album) was similarly bathed in a lamp-lit glow of nostalgia.

Always sad, always twilit, the boys have done it again. NWTBHaNWTL is a masterpiece of forlorn majesty. If there’s a better album to come this year it has two months to reveal itself.

Official Website

Artist at Fat Cat

No One Can Ever Know

Fourteen Autumns – Fifteen Winters