The Twilight Sad, 100 Club, London

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The Independent Culture

“It means a lot you came out tonight. We don’t expect it, a small band from Glasgow. We’ve been down a few times and you didn’t come then,” The Twilight Sad’s singer James Graham says wryly. Perhaps it’s the former Arab Strap Malcolm Middleton’s recent endorsements of the band that have lured the sizeable crowd.

From the sheer emotive opener “Talking With Fireworks”, a blistering Sonic Youth-esque attack of whirring guitars, Graham’s thick Glaswegian burr colouring the songs, they were not going to disappoint.

The five-piece have much in common with the intense dynamic soundscapes and melancholic post-rock tend encies of their Glasgow predecessors Aereogramme, Arab Strap and Mogwai. This year Aereogramme’s former member Dok joined the band on guitar and keyboards, increasing the swirling My Bloody Valentine multi-layered guitar noise that characterises their music.

Their debut album released last year Fourteen Autumns and Fifteen Winters is a sombre, bracing affair, but nothing compared to the intensity of their live show. Gripping the mic in both hands, Graham has way of fixing the audience’s attention on him. Is it the unnerving way he stands sideways, as if too consumed by melancholy to face his audience, his face sometimes crunched up in despair, and the way he draws the listener in with impassioned vocals delivered with an Ian Curtis intensity.

Sweeping and melodic, “And She Would Darken The Memory” builds up beautifully enveloping chiming guitars led by Andy Macfarlane, with Mark Devine’s energetic drumming and ends in an explosive wall of sound. Ending on “Cold Days From The Birdhouse”, the feedback that lingers will last with their audience long after. Stunning.