From the depths of the Glasgow music scene burst forth another band in 2003. Since then, The Twilight Sad have slowly been building up a reputation for their melodic rock meets shoegaze, creating beauty surrounded by squalling guitars. Fourteen Autumns and Fifteen Winters won over many critics, and the world was eager to see if Forget the Night Ahead could keep the band riding the wave of popularity into the hearts and ears of everyone.
As “Reflection of the Television” opens the album up, you can see the screaming feedback you can see that the band still has some of their traditional elements in place. But, you will also notice that those elements no longer live in the foreground of the song, as they did on previous efforts. Singer James Graham now has his vocals standing before you for all to see, and while it dramatically changes the aesthetics of the release, you still catch onto the power of music.
“I Became a Prostitute” is the band’s first single off this album, and you can see that it definitely has a presence that can rise above the indie status. Like Glasvegas, it’s a grandiose number full of wave upon wave of guitars accompanied by Graham’s vocals, which just so happen to crash atop the song as well during the chorus. All in all, it’s a softer approach to writing than the group took in the past, but for most listeners, you will find that it’s equally as effective.
Fortunately for us, this album is longer than their previous affairs, despite the fact that each song reaches well beyond the mark of 3 minutes, with most running near the five minute mark. However, the dynamics of the atmospheric guitar flourishes combined with Graham’s new vocal presence do make some of the songs blend into one another, making it hard to differentiate between the album’s best numbers. Don’t take this to mean that there aren’t standout tracks in abundance.
“That Birthday Present” is a clever song, with the majority of the tune relishing in the bouncy guitar work. All this comes to light even though this also happens to be one of the noisier songs on the record. The Twilight Sad at this point seem sort of like a cross between M83 and Mogwai, except they rely upon a more traditional songwriting structure. It allows their songs to breathe, instead of wallowing before they fade into obscurity like other bands that implement noise attacks.
“Floorboards Under the Bed” is different than most tunes you’ll find in the groups catalogue. It seems to wear the influence of tour-mates Frightened Rabbit, but then it fades into a piece of tinkering flare. Albeit an interesting opening, the song quickly disappears into the back of your mind. All the build up will lead you into the final three tracks. Of the final three, “The Neighbours Can’t Breathe” is the stand out, although the closer, “At the Burnside,” has an emotional appeal, with a hint of Glaswegian balladry wrapping it all up.
This album has some really beautiful moments, more than way out the few weak points. The Twilight Sad are able to build upon their own sound, pushing the shoegazing into the realm of a more pop-centric world, and Forget the Night Ahead wins because of its ability to step into these new realms, encouraging the band to become more than just another stagnant noise-rock act.[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/05/reflection-of-the-television-1.mp3]
Download: The Twilight Sad – Reflection of the Television [MP3]