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Tuesday, April 24, 2007

The Twilight Sad: "Fourteen Autumns and Fifteen Winters"

If the boys from Dashboard Confessional or Interpol were raised in Glasgow, Scotland, had their mothers forgone the typical milk for pints of beer, if they were eating 72oz. steaks at the age of 3, if their body hair was rugged and manly, they might sound a lot like The Twilight Sad. At their most basic, The Twilight Sad doesn't sound too different from their run-of-the-mill whiny American counterparts. But they are so much more. They are louder, more powerful, more poetic, and worlds more talented.

Their most notable difference is the thick Scottish accent of frontman James Graham. When you first hear him "purr" out his Rs on "Cold Days From the Birdhouse," you know you're in for quite a different experience. The first time I heard him sing, "You make it your own, but this is where your arm can't go," I got goosebumps. I've been listening to the album for about a week, and the effect is still the same. It is definitely a standout on the album.

It is followed by the brilliant "That Summer, at Home I Had Become the Invisible Boy" in which Graham croons, "Kids are on fire in the bedroom" before erupting with one of the most authentic shouts I've ever heard on an album ("They're sitting around the table, and they're talking behind your back!"). It is beautifully composed and even features an accordion for good measure. The song is tense and feels like at any second it could explode into an all-out rock fest, but it never does. It's disappointing in a way, but at the same time you can't help but be impressed by it.

The biggest problem that I can point out on the album is the lack of variety in the songs. Each song is great, don't get me wrong, but they almost always start off calm before building into several layers of guitars, vocals, and drums in what is usually a distorted bridge or interlude. It is a small complaint, to be sure, but one that is definitely worth noting. Each song is great in its own right, but if you're not really paying attention, they might start to sound tired.

Overall, "Fourteen Autumns and Fifteen Winters" is a pretty awesome album! Of all the albums to release in 2007 so far, this one has rocked harder than any other I've come across. The Twilight Sad is a band with a lot of character and even more talent. In today's crowded field of indie rockers, they should have no problem differentiating themselves from the rest of the pack. If they're lucky, and if the world is just, they might just rise above the rest.

Recommended to fans of Interpol, The Walkmen, and anyone who really likes a good Scottish accent!

Key Tracks:
1. "Cold Days from the Birdhouse"
2. "That Summer, at Home I Had Become the Invisible Boy"
3. "Talking with Fireworks/Here, It Never Snowed"
4. "Mapped by What Surrounded Them"

7 out of 10 Stars

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