'Nothing short of mesmerising' Dom Gourlay, Drowned in Sound, 16th May 2009
The Twilight Sad announce the details of their hugely anticipated sophomore 'Forget The Night Ahead' album. Already trailed by opener 'Reflections Of The Television' - which dropped on Pitchfork during May, and single 'I Became A Prostitute' on August 3rd, the new album will be released in the UK on 5th October.
The Kilsyth quartet have been busy previewing the new songs on both sides of the Atlantic with US dates supporting Mogwai, and a UK headline tour in May which included some heart-stoppingly intense and intensely loud - performances at three Stag and Dagger events, and two Great Escape appearances. And this time around the band have an audience, as singer James Graham acknowledged, speaking to Pitchfork last month; "Now people know us, there's a bit more pressure. Before there was no expectations. Now people want to come and see this band they really like, so you think, god, we've got to play really well tonight!"
In lyrical terms 'Forget The Night Ahead' is possibly a darker set even than it's hallowed predecessor 'Fourteen Autumns and Fifteen Winters', James Graham's portentous knack for unsettling lines, forcefully delivered in his own Caledonian burr remaining very much on point. Speaking to The Skinny at the start of the year James cautioned; 'We have definitely moved on from 'Fourteen Autumns and Fifteen Winters', musically and lyrically. One thing that I can promise is that the lyrics are very dark, but you might have to look into them a bit to realise [that]. They are mainly based around things that have happened to me over the past two years, revolving mainly around losing people and being none too proud or happy with myself about my antics and situations I've found myself in. Guitarist Andy MacFarlane concurs, 'It is a step forward from the first record, the song writing and the sound of the band has moved on from that time, which is something we'll always try and do, we don't want to ever stand still and make records that sound like each other.'
Produced and mixed by ex-Delgados' man Paul Savage and guitarist Andy MacFarlane at the legendary Chem19 Studios in Glasgow, musically too, the new record is no less tumultuous, MacFarlane's distinctive tremelo'd guitar creating seismic shifts between melancholy introspection and explosive release, the cacophony broadening to accommodate the band's most melodic and yet also most thrillingly discordant moments yet. Here the influence of artists like early 80's Cure, Neu, Wire or even Shellac are just as prominent as longer-standing comparisons to MBV or Joy Division. The album also features the talents of ex-Aerogramme member, Dok, who also contributes guitar and keys to the live line-up, and My Latest Novel's Laura McFarlane who plays violin on 'The Room' and 'That Birthday Present'.
'The recording was approached differently this time', says MacFarlane 'We made a point of staying home to write. Writing on tour is a bad idea, so we stayed in Scotland for the full process. It let us go home after sessions - if we weren't getting snowed-in the studio - and we had more time to experiment and develop the ideas we had. We'd make a lot of use of an old, half-working, Roland Space Echo that we'd plug the vocals, noise strings and piano through, that would get an out of tune effect, like some of the early krautrock recordings. All the reverbs are natural, which were done by mic'ing up inside the studio walls and rooms on the other side of the building to get the drum sound. Three bass heads were blown up [in the process]. There are no big, long delayed guitars, just a lot more noisy ones and there were a few songs that maxed out the desk because of the amount that's on there!'
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