by Meaghan Paulosky
Good bands don’t always stick around for long, and if they do they lose their fire.
Sometimes it’s because they’ve had enough or that they’ve made it too big. Or sometimes they’ve just become jaded. The same cannot be said for The Twilight Sad, referencing the line from The War Poems by Wilfred Owen. The Scottish band boasts three of the original members that began in 2003 covering songs with their friends. Three full-length albums and a few interim members later, the group still produces some of the most understated and under appreciated music around today.
After listening to just a few tracks, the band manages to become personal and relatable. It is not easy to attain this level of profound solace, but it can probably be attributed to years of practice and the band’s genuine infatuation with music. When asked what fuels the band year after year, lead vocalist James Graham tells, “A number of things keep me coming back to the band. The first one being the love of being in the band and writing music. I never thought this would be what I’d be doing for the past six years. The second reason is the hunger and desire to make this band a success because we’ve put so much work into it. We only write music if we have something to write about and feel that we are progressing the band musically within an album. The day we write something that feels like we’re just repeating ourselves will be the day we stop. “
This sort of drive requires a full release of self and sacrifice in the name of the band and of the music, something not many artists can honestly say. “[If I weren’t playing music] I really have no idea, I gave up a lot to do this. If this band doesn’t work out, I’d give up music as it would be too hard to do anything else after putting so much into it.” A fair statement considering he’s been doing this for close to nine years, six since their debut self-titled EP.
Graham describes their sound as “Scottish, intense.” The word sincere could also be thrown into the mix. Every song seems to sound like a raw orchestration. A lingering stillness hangs over the reverberating drum kit skillfully played by Mark Devine, slightly echoing a Smith’s sound. Woven into the mix is the coaxing guitar and occasional accordion by Andy MacFarlane and the mellow vocals of Graham to produce a blend of unpretentious and reticent sounds. The lyrics themselves are conscious efforts to evoke comprehension and cognizance. The band truly carries out their mission to write about what they feel in beautiful fashion.
Be sure to check them out November 8th when they perform at Johnny Brenda’s in Philadelphia. Having been here before, Graham remembers, “We sing the theme tune to “The Fresh Prince”. If you can’t catch them live, Graham’s personal favorites from The Twilight Sad catalog are “Nil,” “Cold Days from the Birdhouse,” and “I Became a Prostitute.” Or check out their newest album No One Can Ever Know.