“Wall of noise” is a term I’ve only ever used as a compliment. True, I understand how the phrase could be misinterpreted to mean something negative. If the band are clumsy and play especially loud, the feeling of a wall of jumbled noise falling down on you is pretty unpleasant. But an intentional wall? That’s a totally different story. There’s an undeniably satisfying, wonderful feeling to being completely overthrown by sound. To be at a show, and for the music to be so loud and so dominating that it becomes a physical presence – heavy enough to feel on your skin. Well, The Twilight Sad don’t really create a wall. A wall only pushes you back – The Twilight Sad create an ocean of noise, so loud and heavy it holds you in place. What more gratifying an experience is there, as a music journalist? As a music fan, even?
Don’t think that this is an unearned ocean, though, or one that acts as a substitute for songwriting. Another way bands can drop the ball when approaching the wall is to do so without reason. When all you have is the wall – when there aren’t lyrics to back it up, when it’s not treated like a crescendo or emotional culmination, you risk making it meaningless. It’s putting on a show to substitute for character – it’s an act full of sound and fury, signifying nothing (If I may inappropriately borrow the words of a more qualified writer).
The Twilight Sad, in bothe studio recordings and live shows, have mastered the wall. It never feels unearned or intrusive – there’s always a raw emotional weight that accompanies the wall with The Twilight Sad. They use it to great effect because it’s not a crutch for them. They write deeply personal music, and constantly try to alter their own sound. When they do use the wall, it’s because it benefits the music before the performance. The wall is never used in place of good song writing, but in tandem with it. That’s why it’s successful songwriting. They understand – composition first, emotion first. Spectacle is something that comes from those things, not something you manufacture when you lack them. The Twilight Sad won’t let their sound ever stagnate, because they know innovation is paramount.
And innovate they do. The band tried some really experimental stuff with their 2009 release “Forget the Night Ahead”, even reportedly using fire extinguishers at one point to create a designated sound. The band also plays with what they’ve already created – they released an album featuring alternate versions of songs from their début EP (which, for most artists, would mean demo’s rather than totally different songs), and recently made available on their website for free an entire album full of acoustic versions of their previous songs.
The band are expecting to release their new album, “No One can Ever Know” in February 2012. Two songs from the album have been released. The single, Sick, can be downloaded here whilst the track “Kill it in the Morning” can be heard here. The album already seems to be a great departure from the bands previous releases, and I’m looking forward to seeing exactly how they chose to evolve their sound.
Expect a full review for their show at The Boderline, London on the 21st of November to be up soon. In the meantime, try to catch the band’s UK tour yourself:
Nov 18 Nice ‘N’ Sleazy Edinburgh, UK
Nov 19 The Mad Ferret Preston, UK
Nov 20 Dutchess York, UK
Nov 21 The Borderline London, UK
Nov 22 Jericho Tavern Oxford, UK
Nov 23 Firebug Leicester, UK
Nov 24 Adelphi Hull, UK
Nov 25 Tollbooth Stirling, UK