Monday, February 13, 2012

The Twilight Sad = If The Cure Were Scottish

Bands have to show their influences. This can be done in a subtle way (a guitar line here, a vocal phrasing there) or more overtly (See Interpol and The Editors aping of JOY DIVISION for their entire careers). THE TWILIGHT SAD straddle the middle of their influence showcasing of THE CURE. I'm sure these lads from Scotland didn't set out to ape the kings of doom and gloom as much as they did when they began recording their third album, "No One Can Ever Know", I imagine they were just looking for new ways to express their sound without rehashing their first two records. I'm also not saying its a bad thing that they did. What results is part mimicry, part homage and part ownership of new sound of their own.

The opening "Alphabet" kicks in with an eerie synth line as lead singer James Graham bleeds with a lost love who may or may not be dead. This is followed by "Dead City" which sounds like an outtake from "Wish" right down to the heaving bassline and clanky percussion. "Sick", the current single, exchanges out real drums for a skippy electronic beat and a staccato guitar line. Graham uses his accent to great effect rolling his "r"s with gusto to add to the off putting sound. The song builds to a nice crescendo adding synthesizers washes at the end. "Don't Move" is the closest thing of the record to an out and out CURE rip off, sounding almost beat for beat like "Fascination Street" without Robert Smith's yelping to give it the urgency it needs. "Another Bed" breaks up the pattern with a dance rhythm than when remixed will be an Edinburgh club banger for the rest of the year. At first it is seems out of place but after repeated listens it make sense to lighten the mood a little bit. The ending drone of "Kill It In The Morning" has a KILLING JOKE feel to it but ends with an uplifting chorus that is anthemic in the context of the whole record.

I admit I missed the boat a bit on these guys, I saw them a couple of years ago when they played the US with FRIGHTENED RABBIT and WE WERE PROMISED JETPACKS. If the Rabbits are easily the most commercial of the Scottish acts right now and WWPJ have a punk ethos that drives them, THE TWILIGHT SAD are trying to strike a chord with the more misanthropic youth of the world. This record may just allow them the room to make that happen.

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