The Twilight Sad have changed tack again for 3rd LP ‘No One Can Ever Know’. Gone are the layered guitars of second LP ‘Forget The Night Ahead’ and in their place come washes of icy 80s synths which are reminiscent of the likes of Tubeway Army.

Curiously though one of the effects is to make NOCEK a warmer sounding LP compared to its stark predecessor.

Yet for all the change around in instrumentation, you couldn’t mistake NOCEK for anyone other than the Twilight Sad. Whilst James Graham’s voice is undoubtedly one of the band’s strengths it’s also rather distinctive.

As a consequence it can link the more diverse tracks such as the propulsive electro clatter of ‘Dead City’ and ‘Nil’ which to all intents and purposes should be one of the quieter tracks on the record.

If there’s a disappointment about the record it’s that Graham doesn’t display the same range vocally as he did on the Fruit Tree Foundation LP. There is subtlety on display on ‘Sick’ and especially the ominous ‘Not Sleeping’ but too often attack is the default setting. And that does undermine the effect of the different atmospherics at times.

Nevertheless NOCEK is a step in the right direction for me. Whilst continuing to demonstrate the band’s desire to keep moving, crucially it’s also a far stronger record than FTNA was, even if it is still short of the high watermark of the debut. But I’m still left with a nagging feeling that I’m always going to admire the Twilight Sad more than I’ll ever love them.

Here’s the video for one of the best tracks on the album:

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