The Twilight Sad
No One Can Ever Know
Mar 19, 2012 Web Exclusive
The Twilight Sad have put together a pretty respectable career. They've got a few well-liked records, they rep Scotland with a local's charm, and have received some favorable U2 comparisons. They're a meaningful mid-tier rock band in a day and age when that sort of thing is increasingly undefined. Unfortunately to these ears they're riding the comfort of their semi-lucrative position to a bewildering, near-indescribable gray. It's been a long time since their debut album was released in 2007 and maybe nostalgia is working against them, but No One Can Ever Know can barely keep the walls interested.
You may remember them as the band with the colorful record sleeves and a penchant for bigness. That all ends here. It's all a part of a self-prescribed departure. Apparently this is The Twilight Sad going "industrial" and embracing a "sparser, colder, slightly militant feel." Considering that their bullet points came from their soaring capabilities, it's a fair reinvention—you got the sense that the band was arriving at the end of their creative chutzpah on the giant choruses anyway. But rather than inaugurate a new engaging sound, or deliver a challenging, brainy opus, or hell, even doing a Metal Machine Music, The Twilight Sad have instead reigned everything in, and they look shockingly, and profoundly boring doing it. It's buzzy, overcrowded, liquid-sheen indie rock that sounds professional in the worst way possible—like if the combined A&R machine focused on cornering the Urban Outfitters record selection.
It's one thing to be bad with earnest intentions; it's another to build irrelevant murk. Lifeless synth-burps clash with James Graham's embarrassingly water-eyed croon on "Alphabet." "Don't Move" has about four different melodic conceits awkwardly crashing into one another. "Another Bed" is supposed to be the burner, but the crash is so insipidly robotic, you'd never mistake it as an organic cry. It's hard to find optimism when you fall this hard, just like it's hard to find inspiration when you feel you've run your course—if anything we should hope The Twilight Sad could at least return to mediocrity. (www.thetwilightsad.com)
Author rating: 4/10
Average reader rating: 8/10