Album Review: The Twilight Sad – Oran Mor Session

Posted by David McElroy

The Twilight Sad - Oran Mor Session

To say that The Twilight Sad have had a remarkable 2015 would be something of a criminal understatement.  2014’s Nobody Wants To Be Here And Nobody Wants To Leave rightly saw the band receive near universal praise and in the year that followed, they’ve tour extensively on their own and as support to others and will end the year with a sold out headline gig at The Barrowlands.  Also, let’s not forget that Robert Smith of The Cure fell in love with them too, leading to his wonderful cover of There’s A Girl In The Corner featuring as a AA side for the It Was Never The Same single and resulting in the band being picked as support for The Cure‘s 2016 US and UK arena tour which has already all but sold out.  I don’t imagine The Twilight Sad could have possibly scripted events better themselves.

The band round off 2015 with Oran Mor Session, an acoustic album recorded in Glasgow’s iconic Oran Mor.  Four tracks from this release were originally available as an EP which was sold at the band’s shows, but thankfully they’ve seen fit to give it a full release.  Comprising 7 songs from Nobody Wants to Be Here…, B-side The Aiport and a cover of Arthur Russell‘s I Couldn’t Say It To Your Face, Oran Mor Session imbues the band’s songs with a new depth and emotion.  Take for example, Last January.  In its original guise it is an urgent, Joy Division-like storm of guitars with a real edge that is one of the high point of its parent album.  Here, it’s stripped right back, giving the song an emotional, almost despairing feel that works quite beautifully.  James Graham’s vocals here, and indeed throughout the album, are superb too, displaying new range and feeling that compliments the acoustic takes perfectly.

Another highlight, admittedly of an album that is a highlight as a whole, is It Was Never The Same which is presented in a spine tingling version, exposing the frailty and nostalgic feel of the track.  It’s quite stunning.  The same can be said of I Could Give You All That You Don’t Want and The Airport, the original version of which could have fitted quite perfectly onto Nobody Wants To Be Here And Nobody Wants To Leave.  The closing track I Couldn’t Say It To Your Face, sees Graham backed with an accordion, and is a beautiful moment to end the album perfectly.

The Twilight Sad have rightly been lauded for Nobody Wants To Be Here And Nobody Wants To Leave with its driving guitar led songs of faith and emotion recalling the halcyon days of The Cure, Joy Division and more.  Sometimes, turning music that intense into acoustic takes can remove the edges from what made the songs stand out in the first instance.  With this release though, The Twilight Sad have breathed new life into already outstanding tracks and made something new from them.  Don’t consider this a stopgap to throwaway release.  Oran Mor Session is a vital part of The Twilight Sad‘s discography.

The Twilight SadOran Mor Session is out now via FatCat Records and can be purchased on vinyl, CD and download here.

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Posted by: Toni Spencer, 20th February 2016