Music review: The Twilight Sad, Barrowlands, Glasgow

“I’m not usually one for big Disney singalongs,” admitted singer James Graham, to put it mildly of The Twilight Sad’s doom-dripping strain of very Scottish post-punk. “But f**k it,” he conceded, before entreating the crowd to commune with him in cathartically howling Cold Days From the Birdhouse, the opening track from the Kilsyth band’s revered 2007 debut Fourteen Autumns & Fifteen Winters. Howl they duly did, every last syllable.

The Twilight Sad

The Twilight Sad, Barrowlands, Glasgow *****

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It was a night of high emotion all round. The group who have been championed by Robert Smith from The Cure and are now signed to local heroes Mogwai’s label Rock Action on one hand celebrated unlikely top-20 chart success for their fifth album It Won/t Be Like This All the Time. On the other they unspokenly commemorated the loss of one of their closest friends and peers – Frightened Rabbit’s Scott Hutchison, who took his own life last year, after giving fans many a night of howling catharsis of his own, some of the most memorable in this room. The Twilight Sad don’t do light in their songs, only epic shade. Graham’s gloomy vocals in a thick, rolling and resplendently undiluted Glaswegian brogue were sung with searing passion, but scarcely did they coalesce into traditional choruses. Andy MacFarlane’s Kevin Shields-esque guitar drones were unforgivingly harsh. The cumulative emo-brutalist effect – a kind of tearful rage into the void – defied all conventions of maudlin indie-rock.

Their penultimate song was a faithful and furiously charged cover of Frightened Rabbit’s acerbic hymn to casual sex and loneliness Keep Yourself Warm – an ear-splitting sonic memorial which one would have needed a heart of lead not to find moving. - Malcolm Jack