The Twilight Sad are establishing a band tradition of providing fans with a little titbit with which to satiate themselves while they start work on new material, much as they did with the Here, It Never Snowed, Afterwards It Did EP. The Wrong Car's title-track leads off with spare aqueous piano chords which are violated by typically pounding drums, a sorrowful string section flirting with woozy refrain at throughout the verse, lending the track an almost Eastern feel. The choruses are typically cathartic, with the tormented strings swept along in the blustery deluge of distorted guitars, James Graham intoning in that richly impassioned brogue of his. But he also gets the opportunity to sing more intimately on restrained verse passages, which also make room for the ponderous piano chords to resonate. The track doesn’t seem anything like its seven minutes.
‘Throw Yourself In the Water’ opens with the perversely morbid lines “And we’re dancing over your grave and the lice were only two steps and we’re dancing over your grave and the shadows only move when you’re around”. The track is one of the most straight up rock songs the Sad have done and could have easily sat on the more conventional Forget the Night Ahead. It’s a more relentlessly noisy affair than the title-track leading, beginning with stacatto guitar chops and distorted bass with intermittent screeches of feedback marking the lurking presence of violent bursts of distorted riffage and crashing cymbals. Graham’s vocals are often difficult to discern, but the lyrical snippets that can be made out such as the aforementioned (and oft repeated) “We’re dancing on your grave” and the accusatory “And he pushed you” convey a sense of dread that’s a direct continuation of Forget the Night Ahead’s pervasive mood. The opening lines of the title-track are also particularly memorable -“And we were there with our ears to ground, ‘cos he was right behind you”; vague and disconnected from a whole picture as they are, the sense of dread of is still palpable, particularly for the way it opens with “And…, Graham placing us right in the midst of the drama, almost rendering the listener complicit in it.
The two original tracks don’t suggest a change of direction from the more conventional, but intense, indie-post-rock of Forget the Night Ahead, but then there’s no reason why they should be treated as pointers to The Twilight Sad’s next move given that the two tracks were written as part of the recording sessions for that album. Mogwai are obvious musical forbears for The Twilight Sad, the younger band taking a more direct song-based approach to the older act’s drawn out post-rock, but their remix of Forget the Night Ahead single ‘The Room’ betrays a lighter touch. The reverb-heavy treatment of the vocals actually harks back the stripped down acoustic version of the song that first appeared as ‘Untitled #27’, while the shoegazey ambience of the guitars and Arab Strap-esque drum machines lend the song a gentle patter compared the gunshot snare march of the album version without compromising its melancholic disposition. On the other hand imminent tour mates Errors make wholesale changes to ‘Reflection of the Television’ stripping away entirely the original’s tormented roar. In it’s place? Pretty much an Errors song with Andy McFarlane on guest vocals, a mix of stuttering synth bass buzzes, blocky arpeggios and disco-savvy stabs. It remains moodily dark by dance floor standards, but perhaps jettisons too much of the original songs character. That said it’s possibly the most curious track on an EP that’s an extremely satisfying stop-gap for fans of The Twilight Sad’s second album, but which in its brief running time provides few clues as to where they’re headed.
7Neil Ashman's Score