Glasgow’s The Twilight Sad have returned with a duo of new songs, Rats and Public Housing, which mark the band’s first new material since the release of their acclaimed fifth album, ‘IT WON/T BE LIKE THIS ALL THE TIME’ (purchase & stream), via Rock Action in January of this year. Written for the IWBLTATT sessions, these two tracks hold a special place in the DNA of the album they were written for and find the band at the cathartic, unreserved peak of its powers.
“‘Rats’ was in the first of demos, along with ‘Shooting Dennis Hopper Shooting’ and ‘The Arbor’, that paved the way for developing the sound and direction we wanted to take the album in,” explains the band’s Andy MacFarlane. “We were trying to capture more of the chaotic live sound of the band and condense it into three minutes.” It’s something the band achieve flawlessly: these are two tumultuous, towering songs that will easily find a place in the heart of anyone who has witnessed their peerless live show. Watch both videos via YouTube below.
“As the recording process progressed, we could tell that these two songs were a little different from the rest of the album,” recalls frontman James Graham. “To me they felt heavier and lyrically they came from a place of complete despair. They started to stand out on their own separately from the album. They were songs we really liked and they weren’t just off-cuts from the album either – we wanted them to stand on their own. So we felt like a proper release was deserved. The two songs feel linked to me, one has no hope and the other is reaching out, looking for some good in people/myself/the world.”
Delving into the lyrical process, Graham continues: “‘Rats’ doesn’t have much hope; it’s from a dark place. It was written on a dark day for me personally. I think that’s quite obvious with lines like ‘all you love is dead’. It’s also a reaction about a mindset I think is very dangerous in our society: the attitude of ‘just get on with it’ and that talking about your feelings or insecurities can be seen as a weakness. I think it’s a major problem taking that approach towards young men especially – the term ‘man up’ being a horrible example. The line ‘don’t take it to heart’ represents this. Knowing that attitude exists all around you when you are struggling makes you feel very alone. These songs are bleak but writing them helped get me out of a bad place in my head.”
‘IT WON/T BE LIKE THIS ALL THE TIME’ was released to both critical acclaim and commercial success, marking a new high in the beloved Scottish band’s trajectory to date. A first Top 20 album for the band, it peaked at number 17 in the Official Albums Chart while coming in at number 1 in the Vinyl Chart and the Scottish Album Chart. 2019 has seen the band tour far and wide, from East Asia to North America, as well as more dates with their friends The Cure, including their first ever show in Mexico City this week.
While The Twilight Sad’s music has frequently offered a sense of catharsis and escapism for Graham over the band’s 16-year tenure, it’s testament to its power and universality that they find themselves reaching a bigger audience than ever before in 2019: a year they’ve made unmistakably their own.