There are bands whose career has been marked by many stylistic shifts but that have still preserved a recognizable and excellent quality of musical production. Among these formations we can certainly count The Twilight Sad: the band debuted at the beginning of their career with a heavy post-punk altered by industrial and noise elements, and they arrived today, through an articulate journey, to play an experimental version of indie rock that’s full of melodies and enriched with new wave nuances. In these cases, every fan usually feels more connected to a specific phase of the band’s career and lives with trepidation the release of a new album, trying to imagine how much the new material will be closer – or distant – with respect to his “favourite record”. From a more external and objective point of view (as it is mine, in this case), these changes of style are observed with less apprehension and much more curiosity. And coming back to the specific case of The Twilight Sad’s new record, named It Won/t Be Like This All the Time, it’s easy to say that the last musical incarnation of the Scottish band is absolutely brilliant and exciting.
The first impressive characteristic of the new album is the remarkable number of truly memorable songs that it contains. There are at least 6 tracks that you would like to listen again and again, for how they are catchy and moving. And this is the reason why the album is so enjoyable and interesting independently from any consideration about the evolution of the band’s style. Very often, when I hear people talking about music, it seems to me that they forget that the ultimate objective of this art is to generate emotions in the listener and, if possible, to make him dream with his eyes open. An album like It Won/t Be Like This All the Time reconciles us with the very essence of contemporary music: it’s first and foremost a collection of superb rock songs. All the other disquisitions whether it’s noise folk rather than experimental or post-punk take on very little importance.
From a stylistic point of view, the songs of the album are built on a combination of multiple constituting elements. The first, in my view, is the work that has been made by Andy MacFarlane, who draws with his guitar sequence of chords, melodic lines or even distorted sounds that are always interesting and also relatively unconventional. The walls of noise that he was used to playing in the band’s early works have left the field to lighter, but absolutely moving sounds. It’s almost unbelievable to realize that in many songs of the album it seems, at first, that the guitars have disappeared. But as soon as we focus our attention it’s easy to verify that not only MacFarlane’s dreamy guitar is absolutely present, but that with its enveloping sound it’s actually one of the main sources of that atmospheric feel which impregnate every song.
Another key element of the band’s today style is a tangible and persistent presence of delicate layers of synths, which are always dosed with great balance and elegance. This is combined with an effective rhythm section, which is as beautiful as it’s simple and linear. This is also the component of the band’s style which recalls the most the influences from new wave: clean bass lines, repeated notes, tight compact battery, all it’s really fantastic to me. Finally, but not least, the deep and expressive voice of James Alexander Graham, who’s absolutely inspired in this record.
When combining together so many positive elements, it’s easy to obtain an album so exciting as It Won/t Be Like This All the Time. And if I think that not so many years ago the guys from Kilsyth were seriously thinking about calling it quits, we must really be grateful to them for they changed their minds.
My overall rating for the album is 9/10. It’s a real masterpiece of modern rock, and one of the best of the band’s discography. I believe that we have already one of the contenders for the best rock album of 2019, if not the best among all genres.
My favourite songs are VTr, Girl Chewing Gum, The Arbor, Let/s Get Lost, Auge/Maschine, and the opening track [10 Good Reasons for Modern Drugs].
It Won/t Be Like This All the Time is available for streaming on Spotify.
Songs from It Won/t Be Like This All the Time are now featured in INDIE INSIDE, the playlist with the best of new indie rock. Check it out and follow it!