Release Date: Jan 18, 2019
Record label: Rock Action
I say this not as someone who visited once and was soaked to the bone on the streets of Glasgow, vowing never to return; but as someone born and raised here, who can honestly swear that on countless days walking the streets of my hometown, it has been impossible to distinguish where the cold granite of the looming buildings end, and the leaden sky begins. Still, as a country, a beating heart of positivity endures; humour wrestles sadness, dreams replace sorrow. For every day of driving, sideways rain there is a breath-taking sunset; for every howling gale, a clear, starry night to counter.
It Won’t Be Like This All The Time is an appropriately positive title for The Twilight Sad‘s fifth studio album. For, despite their reputation for unrelenting grimness, there’s an undercurrent of hope running through the Scottish band’s latest record. For a lot has changed in the world of The Twilight Sad since 2014’s Nobody Wants To Be Here And Nobody Wants To Leave – founder member Mark Devine left the band last January, there was a change of label from Fat Cat Records to Rock Action (owned by Mogwai), and most heartbreakingly, there was the death of the band’s close friend Scott Hutchison of Frightened Rabbit in May 2018.
"Why can't you remember me? I've seen it all before" goes the refrain of "(10 Good Reasons For Modern Drugs)" the pulsating opener of It Won/t Be Like This All the Time, the taut and emotional new record from The Twilight Sad. The disorienting, dark beginning gives the first impression of a band that have grown up, widened their palette, and are now reaching for the stratosphere. For so long, The Twilight Sad have been a band who could be huge, rather than merely being deified by a small cohort of devoted fans.
Authenticity is an often misunderstood termed used as a means of validation in both music criticism and popular discourse. It is reductive, entirely subjective and prone to misuse. Performance and contrivance exist in all forms of art and compromise is inevitable between ideas and their resulting action. Pub chats on music up and down the land often centre on the elevation of singers or bands due to a perception of how much they "mean it," whilst those in conversation dance gleefully on the corpse's ashes of the latest "manufactured" pop band to wane from public affection.
Based on their music's deep-seated loneliness, it would be easy to assume that the Twilight Sad don't have a friend in the world. However, their sixth album It Won't Be Like This All the Time is informed, and improved, by their collaborations and friendships. Chief among them is the Cure's Robert Smith, who became a fan after hearing 2014's excellent Nobody Wants to Be Here and Nobody Wants to Leave.
The Twilight Sad's greatest weapon is intensity. Ever since debut 'Fourteen Autumns & Fifteen Winters', the Scots have amassed a catalogue of bleak but defiant hammer-blows, all punctuated by James Graham's impassioned vocals, delivered in an unashamedly out-there accent from north of the border. This continues in earnest on new album 'IT WON/T BE LIKE THIS ALL THE TIME'.
T he Cure's Robert Smith has repeatedly sung the praises of the Twilight Sad, saying: "If the world was a better place they would be playing to more people, and I think they can." Perhaps the North Lanarkshire band's fifth album will make more people take notice. With a new lineup and on the label of fellow superfans Mogwai, it brings epic grandeur to post-punk. There's certainly nothing new about their sound and fury and throbbing basslines - they fit comfortably into a lineage stretching from the Cure and the Chameleons to the Killers and White Lies - but they have timeless, high-quality songs.