The Twilight Sad – Live Review

The Twilight Sad @ The Ruby Lounge

25/03/2010

by Ian Burke

Blessed with chunky frames and even chunkier beards, Glaswegian monsters, Take A Worm For A Walk Week, pick up the grooves of Clutch and add a dram of caledonian insouciance.

That the quartet don’t take themselves at all seriously is a boon – their début album, ‘The Monroe Transfer’ is, after all, named after an obscure, unlikely and completely ludicrous kink – especially when they know full well that the scarf-wearing audience will have been expecting something a little less ferocious than their metronomic riffage.

Frontman, Joe Quimby makes a nuisance of himself throughout, stalking the stage like a hallucinating tramp, rubbing his belly and playing imaginary woodwind instruments to his own tune. It’s not really a surprise that he ends the set dangling backwards from the Ruby Lounge’s crash barriers. Exhilarating stuff.

On the other hand, The Twilight Sad are the ultimate dour Scotsmen, their doom-laden approach making Joy Division sound like the Vengaboys.

The closely-cropped James Graham prowls around with utter menace in his piercing eyes, throttling the mic desperately with both hands as he pours every sinew into ‘Walking For Two Hours’, his brutal accent ramping up the gravity of its “there’s no tears left” line.

Never has a man in a cardigan looked so troubled. He could spend the rest of his days jetting between Hawaii and the Seychelles and still find the worst humankind has to offer.

‘That Birthday Present’, with its flailing guitars and abrupt hooks is the pick of the bunch from their new ‘Forget The Night Ahead’ LP, and although the album – and the band as a whole – is a definite grower, to the casual passer by, their unconventional, minimalist compositions and deliberate pace can appear impenetrable.

Perseverance is rewarded, though, with the shuddering cynicism of ‘That Summer, At Home, I Had Become The Invisible Boy’ being particularly potent, while the brooding ‘Cold Days From The Birdhouse’ wraps things up with Graham rolling his “r”s like it was a personal attack on Jonathan Ross.

Intense barely covers it.

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