Post referendum there is a new found confidence about Scotland that seems to be infusing its arts and culture. Nowhere is this clearer than on the music of The Twilight Sad. They are a trio from Kilsyth in north Lanarkshire who have patiently build up a sizeable following and whose music gets better upon every album they release. "Nobody Wants To Be Here & Nobody Wants To Leave" is proof that rock music doesn't have to be the tired cold gruel currently served up by many UK bands. This is an album with big ambition, big heart and big tunes, representing a band coming of age.
Drop the needle anywhere on this record and you will locate songs with dangerous hints of melody amongst the dark foreboding. For example the opener "There's a girl in the corner" is a powerful beast filled with existential angst but you can sing to it. The single "Last January" shows that the bands have now fully mastered the mixing desk and whereas in the past James Graham's earthy vocals have been lost amongst the dense sonic walls of shoegazing guitar they are now in their rightful place driving the songs. The album is populated with dense anthems such as the pounding "Drown so I can watch" and "In Nowheres" the band have written one of their best ever songs underpinned by an almost Spectorish wall of huge sound. There are able however to vary the plays and the much lighter "Pills I Swallow" is instantly agreeable, demanding an immediate repeat play. Finally the closing track 'Sometimes I Wished I Could Fall Asleep' is a wonderful piano emotive ballad setting out a bleak love letter to conclude this massively mature work.
The Twilight Sad have are often portrayed as "perennially unhappy" and resolutely "industrial" in their aesthetic. This album smashes that cliched generalisation to smithereens. "Nobody Wants To Be Here & Nobody Wants To Leave" is the best British rock album this reviewer has listened to in 2014 and puts them into that league where Interpol and the National breath the rarefied air. Honestly you would be foolish not to beat a path to this particular door to hear vibrancy, wit and true emotional power. It certainly beats two old farts called Pink Floyd playing ghastly dinner party muzak. Hopefully this fourth album places them firmly in line to embrace the fickle fame that has eluded them thus far.
Review by Red on Black