While recording their second album, Forget the Night Ahead, the Twilight Sad used everything from distortion pedals to the smacking of fire distinguishers to cloak their music in haze. If you cut through the fuzz and distortion, you start hearing really dark messages. Themes of guilty consciences, the sad realities of prostitution and the loss of loved ones infiltrate the album — a twisted storybook of frontman James Graham's experiences. But what's most important is the music that carries the lyrics. Graham said he wanted to make an album that's "big and noisy as fuck." The Scottish band succeeded, piecing together 11 songs as tuneful as they are loud.
"Scissors" is an evolving wall of noise, but the majority of Forget evokes the Cure and other pioneers of '70s goth-rock. The bouncy "Reflection of the Television" features rubbery bass, echoing drum hits and Graham's deep, controlled vocals. The mostly instrumental "Floorboards Under the Bed" would be Chris Martin's wet dream if he could tame the cacophonous electric guitar that shrouds creepy minor-key piano clunking. Most of us keep a fire distinguisher handy to put out flames; the Twilight Sad use theirs to keep 'em burning. — Danielle Sills