The Twilight Sad - No One Can Ever Know - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

The Twilight Sad - No One Can Ever Know

by Steve Reynolds Rating:8 Release Date:2012-02-06

When The Twilight Sad released their debut 14 Autumns and 15 Winters, it breathed a whole new sense of perspective into the alternative scene awash with dead-eyed Libertines and Arctic Monkeys wannabes. They took the noise and melody of shoegazing, plugged it into walls of melodic noise and made without a doubt the best alternative album of 2007. Taking this into the live arena, with James Graham's misanthropic and harrowing vocals, they looked set up for bigger and better things. However, their second album Forget the Night was much more verse-chorus song based, albeit with a darker direction, and was not as immediate and ear-catching as their debut.

So on newie No One Can Ever Know, they are stuck between a rock and a hard place. Which way to take their sound? Bridging parts from their first two albums, their sound is sparse, with limited shades of noise but a refreshing injection of Krautrock rhythms and industrial-style electronic beats.

'Alphabet' paints the perennial unhappiness in James Graham's cryptic and dark lyrics: "So sick to death of the sight of you now, Safe to say never wanted you more" - like some sort of 'can't live with/without you scenario'. The arrangement on 'Sick' draws on the electronic pulses of no wave pioneers Suicide while Graham's mournful meditation on physical abuse showcases his general dour and doleful song-writing ability.

'Nil' is minimal, with atonal keys and haunting catherdral-style organ while primitive live drums drop in and out of the song. Graham sings from the heart and the lyrics seem to focus on an unhappy family life: "Have you seen her flat on the ground" and "'Is that you son', you used to say". If Graham is being honest here, this is a release of cathartic emotions and while it's slightly depressing, its sickly listenable at the same time.

The Twilight Sad have not been afraid to climb over the monolith of their debut and move in a new direction. The simple use of electronica blended with Graham's belligerent vocal is perfectly demonstrated on 'Kill in the Morning', where the tides of creeping guitar and minor beats mix perfectly to almost form a dance record!

No One Can Ever Know does not instantly grip the listener, but give it some eartime and you'll be gladly surprised at what their so-called difficult third album has to offer. The Twilight Sad have embraced a mystical and bold new direction and if there is a god of musical taste out there, it will see them push onto the next level in 2012.

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