The Twilight Sad: Òran Mór Session
Live album is undeniably beautiful, but aimed at hardcore fans
Following last year’s Nobody Wants To Be Here and Nobody Wants To Leave, The Twilight Sad have enjoyed a new-found position as darlings of the indie music media, topping various album-of-the-year lists and garnering gushing reviews across the board. And for good reason – the band’s fourth LP perfected a kind of gloomy modern shoegaze that drew on the current partiality for psychedelia and soul. James Graham’s Glaswegian croon never failed to cut through the reverb or synth haze, becoming as much of a trademark for the band as their brooding bass and electric rumbles. Òran Mór Session is a collection of minimalist and stripped-back versions of tracks from 2014’s LP, focusing more on Graham’s voice and the sentiment within the poignant lyrics.
The outcome is undeniably beautiful. While vocals have always played a crucial part in The Twilight Sad’s studio records, on this release they are thrust into the limelight. Graham’s Scottish lilt tugs at each and every heartstring. ‘Last January’ is a particularly damp-eyed moment with its closing statement: 'This isn't you that I came here for; this isn't you that I waited for'.
Instrumentation is split across the record – minimal electric characterises the first half while folk-like acoustic adorns the second. The guitar accompaniment is more of a garnish than an essential ingredient, however, such is the level of attention focused on the vocal. This is makes Òran Mór Session a pleasure to listen to, but it's also a release that can only be fully enjoyed by dedicated fans.
The record, however, only offers a one-dimensional view of the band, and while the lyrics and delivery are a crucial component, it is the combination of Graham’s voice and the shadow-dwelling instrumentation of their studio LPs that reveals The Twilight Sad’s true magic.
Released Fri 16 Oct on FatCat Records