The Twilight Sad comprises James Graham (vocals), Andy MacFarlane, (guitar/accordion/noise), Craig Orzel (bass), and Mark Devine (drums). Forming in late 2003, the band played a couple of early shows at Glasgow’s 13th Note, creating half hour pieces of music utilising guitars, bass, drums, theremin, tape loops from films and old folk and country songs, effects pedals, toy keyboards, thumb pianos, computer games and various other ephemera. Subsequently withdrawing to the studio to refine their sound, and rejecting any live shows offered, the band underwent a gradual metamorphosis into a more traditional, but still sonically adventurous outfit, with a more overt inclination towards emotive, eloquent song.
Their debut release, out late 2006 was the critically acclaimed US only five track EP. Following just months later, ‘Fourteen Autumns and Fifteen Winters’ (flanked by two singles, ‘That Summer At Home I Was The Invisible Boy’ and And She Would Darken The Memory’ respectively) the bands debut album more than lives up to the early promise of their earlier recordings. Influenced by a diverse range of music from Van Dyke Parks to Phil Spector, Daniel Johnston, and beyond, although the band are as influenced by their immediate geography (‘the sticks just outside Glasgow’), as they are any particular musical reference points. Recorded at Chem 19 and Ca Va studios, Glasgow, and mixed and produced by the band and Peter Katis (Interpol, Mercury Rev, Mice Parade) in Tarquin Studios, Connecticut, ‘Fourteen Autumns…’ is nevertheless liable to evoke a more familiar indie canon, from white-noise era Creation Records, to fellow Scots Arab Strap or Mogwai
Yet The Twilight Sad are unmistakably their own band, and ‘Fourteen Autumns…’ is a complete record, the nine tracks working together to create a strong narrative flow. Deceptively simple songs are rendered transcendent. Bleached, overdriven guitars consistently ride a line between ambient and coruscating, working in tandem with an articulate, at times tumultuous rhythm section, forever poised between tension and release. Augmented by piano and more frequently accordion, which provide the songs with a dramatic swoon, The Twilight Sad purvey an awestruck, ragged sentimentality. Lyrically suggestive and metaphorical, their songs give glimpses of bitter experience and romantic failure, their songs at times verging on the anthemic or celebrative, yet firmly rooted in the familiar, often unsaid hurt behind day to day events.
Where the band’s recorded sound is layered with many melodies, their live sound is a more intense experience which replaces the intricacies of the recordings with a more visceral wall of noise. The band spent much of 2007 touring, playing with and in support of the likes of Smashing Pumpkins, Idlewild, Micah P Hinson and Snow Patrol, as well as playing shows in their own right, and a clutch of Festivals including Roskilde, Pitchfork, and The End Of The Road Festival.
In June 2008, the band released six-track mini-album, ‘Here, It Never Snowed. Afterwards It Did’; the concept originating from off-the-cuff reworkings of songs from ‘Fourteen Autumns, Fifteen Winters’, and adapted to accommodate certain settings as they toured. The resultant set of recordings shows not only a band full of ideas, embracing the opportunity to recontextualise and create fresh material, invigorated by any imposed restrictions, but also stands to re-focus the listener’s attention on the strength of the songs themselves.
The Twilight Sad toured Europe in 2008 with Mogwai, and released a live EP, ‘(The Twilight Sad) Killed My Parents and Hit The Road’ to coincide with the tour. The EP featured live tracks, covers and live versions of new songs, and was for sale exclusively on the FatCat website and at their live shows. Indie shops now stock the CD.
The Twilight Sad’s new album is called ‘Forget The Night Ahead’ and is released on 5th October 2009. The band will start touring in September, with dates in the UK, Europe and America. Their USA stretch sees them as a part of a special FatCat showcase tour with We Were Promised Jetpacks, Frightened Rabbit and Brakes. With press and radio eagerly anticipating the new material, it will be a productive and busy time for The Twilight Sad.