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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The soundtrack to your own personal nightmare, 24 Oct 2009
J. Jenkins (Dudley Port, England) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Forget The Night Ahead (Audio CD)
The first few minutes of Forget the Night Ahead; stentorian drumming, rumbling bass and James Graham's world weary vocal, freighted with existential angst, immediately evoke the spectre of albums like Joy Division's Closer and The Cure's Pornography, and those are handy reference points for this similarly uncompromising monolith.

I read recently that Graham sees his lyrics as occupying a folk tradition of storytelling, but like Interpol's Paul Banks or the National's Matt Berninger, his writing is literary while being tantalisingly oblique, yet unquestionably dark. Forget... is full of allusions to transgressions and the guilt that accompanies them, but the exact nature of those traumas is left to the listener's imagination. To me, this is an almost overpoweringly bleak record, but then maybe I'm just projecting. In a sense, Graham only gives you the rope, and it's up to you if you hang yourself. Whatever, he's still a fantastically evocative writer, and a tremendously compelling singer if you don't object to his thick Scottish brogue (which I don't).

The other unquestionable star here is Andy MacFarlane's guitar, from which he squeezes a bewildering sonic spectrum; a guitar hasn't sounded as much like a chill wind as it does on Seven Years of Letters, or a roaring inferno as it does during the crescendo of At the Burnside, since Kevin Shields last committed his genius to disc. He's also capable of matching Graham's confrontational intensity every inch of the way, creating a ear-bleeding din that's enough to send you scurrying for cover.

As you can probably gather, a feel good album this ain't, but I'll leave the last word of caution to Graham himself: "If you're looking for a record with a lot of hope and happy songs then f**k off". Indeed.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Forget The Night Ahead, 11 April 2010
Mr. R. K. Richardson (Kent, England.) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Forget The Night Ahead (Audio CD)
This album was the first I'd heard of The Twilight Sad. They are the supporting act for Biffy Clyro next month when I am seeing them, so I decided to do some research into them. It turns out that this was a very wise decision, for this is definitely an album worth purchasing.

The Twilight Sad would be classed as Alternative Rock, but that is a very bland term which would mislead most people looking into their music. This is indeed an Alternative album, but it isn't for those looking for upbeat indie or summer anthems. As the band's name, and the album title suggests, this isn't happy music. But it is great music.

The band create an array of loud guitar soundscapes that swirl heavily throughout the album; no more so than in the opening track, 'Reflection Of The Television', where the listener is introduced to the first of a vast array of guitar sounds which kicks in in a heavy and disturbing fashion as the singer croons "there's people downstairs". Ably assisted by an unforgiving drumbeat, this instrumental section is a perfect introduction to an album which is crammed full of deep and unnerving sounds- but it is to the band's tribute that these sounds come across in an appealing and almost calming way. It is quite bizarre, at times.

Perhaps the most identifiable with song to fans of the mainstream is 'I Became A Prostitute', an upbeat track with a well defined chorus and a dominating rhythmic guitar lead. It verges on anthemic during the chorus; "You could have had it all, is that what you said?" does it's best to get the listener singing along.

However, despite the occasional inference to the mainstream, one of the ways in which this album does its best to fend off the ordinary is through its dark yet curious lyrics. The main hook in 'I Became A Prostitute', "If I bleed you dry" contains violent and bloody undertones, as does the succeeding line, "You are the bearer of a womb without love". This interest in blood and violence pervades the album, in a way which maintains the sadistic interest of the listener.

No better example of this is 'The Room', which for me is easily one of the stand-out tracks. It is a piano ballad, with a simple recurring beat on the bass drum to keep it moving, which paints a rather beautiful soundscape. The unsettling lyrics, made all the more so by their positionining on top of a calming piano melody, signify what this band is about. "Hide her, don't wake her, we'll hide her, and we'll leave" is an example of the bewildering yet sinister lyrics which take this album from being a good one, to a very good one.

This is not a positive record- sadness and lament pervades it, and this is certainly the case in "Made To Disappear". It is poetic, and tells of hurt and blame; "She said be gentle, be fair, was the fog even there, you're looking at the guilty one", and "I only want some honest fun, I'll always be your honest one". It is another in a succession of fascinating songs.

This album is for those who are interested in their music, rather than for those who want something nice to listen to. This isn't a nice album, and many uneducated music fans would label it as depressing. But it isn't. It is empaphising, and even relaxing in the way it encourages the release of emotion. The vocalist, whose soothing but harsh Scottish accent is perfect for a record of such a nature, works his way through a range of haunting pieces with no joy, but most certainly a lot of satisfaction; and it is exactly the same for the listener.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Get it, listen to it, obsess over it, 24 April 2010
This review is from: Forget The Night Ahead (Audio CD)
Bands that really make an impression on me don't come along that often these days, but when one hits me, it hits hard. This is another album which is badly missed from my Top 10 of 2009! This Scottish band is new to me. The name is a bit poor really, but the artwork is absolutely great. So how then to describe their sound? It's a raging wall of guitars, in the vein of My Bloody Valentine, Jesus and Mary Chain or a noisy National fronted by a singer with a strong Scottish accent (I'm hesitant to say Arab Strap because it's a little obvious), which is something of an acquired taste. They've been dubbed as shoegaze (or `nu'gaze!). But the songs are very strong, with nagging insistent refrains that bury themselves in your brain.

The opening track, Reflection of the Television is a perfect case in point. It sounds unremarkable at first, with a somewhat dull drumbeat but after a few listens it lodges itself in your head, thanks in no small measure to the wonderful noisy guitars which bleed into this track towards the end. The following track, I Became a Prostitute, is even better. It's a little more uptempo, and the lyrics contain phrases `she's bawling her eyes out' before exploding into the chorus.

And that's just the first 2 tracks. The rest of the album doesn't disappoint. Sure they wouldn't sound like this without listening to My Bloody Valentine, but who cares when the songs are this good? They do seriously noisy soaring choruses (Made to Disappear, The Neighbours Can't Breathe), weird, scratchy instrumentals (Scissors), piano-led heavy pop (The Room) and rampaging rackets (That Birthday Present).

In other words, it's bloody brilliant. Get it, listen to it, obsess over it.
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Forget The Night Ahead
Forget The Night Ahead by The Twilight Sad (Audio CD - 2009)
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