Saturday, April 28, 2007

album review: the twilight sad - Fourteen Autumns and Fifteen Winters

Listening to the twilight sad (no caps, honest), I think of two things - the SNL skit "If It’s Not Scottish, It’s Crap" and the dad in So I Married An Axe Murderer, brilliantly played by Mike Myers (his career high point - it crushes Wayne or anyone else in his repertoire - "heed, pants, now" can not be topped). Take the heavy accent of each, combine it with introspective, "set the scene" lyrics and an ample shot of fuzzy and frantic guitars and you’ve got the idea.

Following up their US-only, self-titled EP (from which three tracks are pulled), the twilight sad remain on the same path - singing that jumps from even-paced to frantic and accompaniment that switches from barely there to all-in in seconds. James Graham is placid, pleading or preaching, often in the same song, with his THICK accent that reminds me of fellow Scots (and myspace page friends of twilight sad), My Latest Novel. The moments when he’s nearly out of breath and completely unhinged are my favorite - haven’t we all been there at some point? For me, it was last Thursday at the laundromat, but that’s a story for another time.

On most tracks, the band adds to the often frenetic pacing of Graham's singing and when they arrive, it's the soundtrack for that moment at the party when the drunk guy no one wanted there throws the first punch. Someone breaks a lamp, a full ceramic bowl of onion dip is tossed across the room just for fun, four or five guys alternately throw wild haymakers and try to put one another in headlocks while other dudes laugh and both encourage the action and fake their way through breaking it up and the ladies offer screaming and yelling "stop, stop, please, oh just stop!" as the quickest way to detente. The action slows, people are pulled apart, revealing shirt necks that are forever stretched, mussed hair and scratched faces. Participants all mutter variations of "yeah, yeah, I’m fine" as they smooth out the kinks and try to return to party mode. The pugilists head their separate ways, everyone else begins to breathe again and clean up when the drunk guy, "we took our eye off of him for just a second, I swear" takes a run at someone from the blind side and the grapple begins anew. Curtains are ripped from their rods, someone's ass goes through a window and expletives outnumber the guests ten to one. The faint wail of a siren presents itself as the herd spills onto the front lawn and neighbors begin to peek out darkened windows.

That's Fourteen Autumns and Fifteen Winters - it makes your heart beat faster, it keeps you riveted and it leaves you with a great story to tell your friends. (John Byrne)

The Twilight Sad - "And She Would Darken The Memory" mp3 buy

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