The Twilight Sad - Nobody Wants to be Here and Nobody Wants to Leave
Nobody Wants To Be Here And Nobody Wants To Leave. While the title may be a mouthful, many will simply be thinking thank fuck this record exists. The Twilight Sad are an odd one; despite having every quality needed to fill a room full of adoring, sweaty fans they have simply eluded fame at every turn. Genuine cult heroes, they make cohesive, beautiful albums in an age where such traits seem increasingly old fashioned.
Album number four is a storming congregation of everything you've heard, loved and hated about the last three moulded together. It might be the best of the lot. Opening with the tortured angst of 'There's A Girl In The Corner', the song is an immediate throwback to exactly what everybody got so excited about first time round: a simple but clear instrumental build, James Graham's ever enrapturing Scottish vocals and a killer synth breakdown torn straight from the darkest murk post-punk has to offer. Blissful. Lead single 'Last January' follows and while not the centrepiece of the album, it's a safe choice, treading accessible ground while retaining the band's signature gloom. “They say it can't go on / But it's your eyes / Touching my eyes / To the past we know" so the chorus goes and believe it or not, it's really quite catchy. Despite James having long enforced the notion that 'we don't write pop songs', that's not entirely true; if there's anything that have kept The Twilight Sad firmly in the conscious this past decade it's his cryptic ear worms.
By the time 'It Was Never The Same' rolls around, you'll find the album has developed an identity of its own and this could be the nucleus. A tragic, emotive and painfully vague work of subtle (pop) genius, this is a new live calling card and if people aren't pulling out their lighters, hugging and weeping to this stuff come six months from now then there's no hope. “So we danced to save them all / We asked to save them all / We tried to save them all / You didn't have to kill them all” is as powerful a hook as they've ever written. The title track continues the trend of shadowing thick, heavy traditional rock instrumentation with dark melodic synth lines. It may not be the most prominent moment on the album but it plays beautifully into the opening chimes of 'Pills I Swallow'. While musically lighter with an instantly agreeable melody, you'll still find James' lyrical delivery inquisitively dark, giving the listener something long term to dissect and unravel.
Come closing track 'Sometimes I Wished I Could Fall Asleep' and you've reached an echelon of emotion that just can't go anywhere but down. Slow, elegant piano keys are firmly drawn over James' reluctant murmur of “There's nothing left for us / There's nothing left for us / We've been left behind” as if he's easing you out the door with firm but gentle assurance. Go on. Screw with their heads. Make them famous.