Scottish band The Twilight Sad’s third album No One Can Ever Know has been rather a long time coming – their last record, Forget the Night Ahead was released back in 2009. Following the departure of founding bass player Craig Orzel, the band have said their new record would head in a different direction, with guitarist Andy Macfarlane describing their new songs as “sparser […] with a colder, slightly militant feel.” Despite this however, they’ve certainly not lost their old charm – their dark, sinister sound remains here, and is even amplified on some tracks.
The band have named industrial music and krautrock as an influence for their new songs and you can tell, with some of the tracks reminiscent of Nine Inch Nails, especially closer Kill it in the Morning. Electronica is also obviously an inspiration, with some songs reminding the listener of a little of Depeche Mode (which might be a bit of a shock for some fans.) Synths and heavy bass are thickly featured, with Don’t Move and the brilliant Dead City being rather Joy Division-esque.
No One Can Ever Know works well together as an overall album, with many of the tracks seamlessly blending into each other. It is full of much catchier songs than the band’s past albums – brilliant opener Alphabet is a good example of this, as is the wonderful Another Bed. Elsewhere, first single Sick is beautifully atmospheric, and the extremely ominous Not Sleeping is probably the darkest moment on the record, but one of its best. Another noticeable difference on this record is that vocalist James Graham’s lyrics are more at the fore than with the band’s previous work – especially on the powerful Don’t Look At Me, on which he repeats “I still want you” almost desperately.
Overall then, a new direction has yielded great results for The Twilight Sad; this is a definite step up, and they deserve to be very successful indeed with No One Can Ever Know. It’s been worth the wait for sure.