Any band that once sought to fund a tour by pressing a CD called The Twilight Sad Killed My Parents and Hit the Road could never be accused of lacking a sense of humor, as morbid as it may be. That sentiment often gets lost amid the wintry melancholy of the Twilight Sad, whose shoegaze-meets-post-rock songs of alienation and misbegotten love sound right at home next to the work of Joy Division, the Smiths and Radiohead.
True, lead singer James Graham isn’t holding back when he sings, “Everybody’s unsafe, and we were the violence” in his distinctive Scottish brogue on “Don’t Move” (from this year’s No One Can Ever Know), but there’s certainly something jocular and conspiratorial about it—a smirk, an elbow to the ribs and a “Let’s go!” that feels like a genuine, if dangerous, invitation. And as easily as Graham can ape Morrissey, he draws the line at misanthropy for art’s sake.
Meanwhile, guitarist Andy MacFarlane and drummer Mark Devine, joined on tour by bassist Johnny Docherty and keyboardist Brendan Smith, clearly revel in banging out Bowie/Eno–style motorik beats (“Dead City”), lo-fi laptop goth (“Sick”), psych-strobe rock (“Kill It in the Morning”) and whatever else the party calls for. Having survived the proving ground of Glasgow’s rough-and-tumble rock scene—and, in the process, emerged from the shadow of Mogwai, their post-rock godfathers—the lads of the Sad are on an unprecedented roll. Errors, Mogwai protégés themselves, hope to make the most of that momentum in their opening slot.—Bill Murphy
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