The Twilight Sad: The Wrong Car
Now this is a band it's taken me ages to get in to. Given how much post-space I've dedicated to the current crop of Scottish indie bands in the last couple of years, I imagine some of you are surprised I've taken this long to feature The Twilight Sad on this site. The simple fact of the matter was that I just didn't really like them, but slowly, by degrees, I'm being won round.
What started the process was being sent the video to their single The Room; by a quirk of fate I ended up downloading and watching it without having any idea who the band actually were. As it turned out, I quite liked it - it wasn't amazing, or anything, but certainly not as bad as I would have expected a Twilight Sad single to sound. It's strange how ones expectations colour the way one views a band.
In the past I always found them slightly too chaotic; despite my taste for the raucous and filthy, they just seemed too, well, grubby for my gentle sensibilities. But having had a not-unpleasant experience with The Room, I was far more willing to give their latest EP, The Wrong Car, the time necessary to digest it and review it.
On first glance this release looks much more like a single than an EP. It divides nicely into two parts: the first two tracks are off-cuts from the band's latest full-length, Forget the Night Ahead (although "off-cuts" might be a misleading term, as allegedly these tracks simply weren't finished by the time the LP was released), and the second tracks are a couple of remixes by two more Scottish acts - Errors, whom The Twilight Sad are just embarking on a co-headline tour with, and the ever-excellent Mogwai.
Much as with The Room, the first two tracks reaffirm my initial mistake in dismissing The Twilight Sad out of hand without so much as a by-your-leave. Both songs, particularly the title track, are consummate indie-rock; my impression is that this band have picked their niche and intend to fill it as well as they're able. Neither of the tracks set the world alight with their amazingness, but I'll certainly be keeping a semi-eager eye out for future Twilight Sad releases.
Surprisingly enough, it's one of the remixes that has compelled me to write about this record. I already caused some controversy on these pages when I announced that I unilaterally despised all remixes, but I'm a big fan of Mogwai's back catalogue so I find myself oddly conflicted in this instance. In many ways this track does display all the traits of remixes that upset me so; there's the depressingly monotonous programmed drums and the all-we've-really-done-is-slap-on-a-filter-or-two vocal "processing". But then every now and then a moment of clarity emerges from the fug and reminds you that it is Mogwai after all. As much as it pains me to say it, this remix does invoke a certain atmosphere and sense of place - admittedly it's one that's slightly ineffable and therefore doesn't come across too well in print, but it's there nonetheless...
To paraphrase: there are good remixes out there, but ratio of good/bad remixes makes it next to impossible to find the good ones, so now I don't bother listening to any remixes at all. ↩︎