“If the world was a better place they would be playing to more people, and I think they can” – Robert Smith, The Cure
From their unassuming origins as a group of school friends drawn together by a shared passion for music to the global touring force they have quietly become, The Twilight Sad’s ascent has been forged the old way with grit, graft and four exceptional studio albums.
The Kilsyth group – based around the core duo of James Graham and Andy MacFarlane – seemed to emerge fully formed with their blindsiding 2007 debut Fourteen Autumns and Fifteen Winters but there has been an undeniable evolution throughout the critically acclaimed body of work they have since produced. “When we started this it wasn’t about anything other than making music that mattered to us,” James offers. “Four albums and countless tours later, our agenda is still to write something which is true, honest and exciting to ourselves, but we have also realised that what we’re doing matters to other people. When our music connects it can become as important to them as it is to us.” With a clear sense of purpose and a visceral collection of songs that backs up a newfound confidence, The Twilight Sad return this autumn with their first full-length effort since 2014’s Nobody Wants to Be Here and Nobody Wants to Leave. An exhilarating listen, by turns cinematic and claustrophobic in its scope, the band dug deep to produce It Won’t Be Like This All the Time, perhaps their most raw and dynamic take on the stuff of life so far. The album’s story starts in the middle of the band’s longest break from the studio; their course was altered by a new alliance with The Cure which began in earnest with Robert Smith’s stirring cover of ‘There’s a Girl in the Corner’ in 2015. Two emotionally charged groups, generations apart yet undeniably cut from similar cloth. “We were in the typical cycle of recording a new album to tour every two years,” says Andy. “I had previously mentioned to Robert that if they ever needed a support band, we’d love to do it – not thinking he’d take me seriously. Not long after, he sent over some dates and asked if we were available. It was the perfect excuse to break up the routine we’d found ourselves in and all pretty surreal.”
As sliding doors moments go, this was fate shaping material. It’s no understatement to say that The Cure’s mentorship has set the band on a trajectory we are yet to feel the full force of. Having scaled new heights on what ultimately became a year-long transcontinental trek with their idols, the band were uniquely placed to sketch out their intent for the next chapter. “I’d call all that a once in a lifetime experience, but it’s not an experience I ever dreamed of in my lifetime,” says James. “Getting onstage every night, on that level, playing our music and seeing people react – I’ve never expected to be in that situation. The fact that it was working was pretty crazy to experience. To know we could connect with even a tenth of that crowd is mind-blowing to me. It opened my eyes to the idea that what we’re doing has legs. If we keep doing what we’re doing we can keep on reaching higher.” “After a while, seeing how those songs were put together, it started to bleed into what we were doing,” Andy admits. “It gave us time to reflect and think quite carefully about what to do next. When we got back it was a case of trying to decide where to go with it.” Upon returning to the UK and the isolation of his London home, Andy distilled the band’s collective aspirations – to find immediacy in their writing, to bring a new hugeness to the often dark matter of their songs – into demos for the fifth LP. Following six months of pre-production, his vision was made flesh during a productive residency in a remote rehearsal space on Loch Fyne last November. Eager to keep momentum, the band subsequently tracked their efforts at Devon’s Middle Farm Studios with long serving live engineer Andy Bush in January of this year. Th