The Twilight Sad have released Oran Mor Session, an album stripped of the noisy sound wash we have come to expect and love from the Scottish trio in lieu of crisp and moody guitar melodies from Andy MacFarlane and the visceral heart-wrenching vocals of James Graham. Most of the music has been re-envisioned from the band’s 4th studio release Nobody Wants to Be Here and Nobody Wants to Leave, a few select b-sides and a cover of Arthur Russell’s “I Couldn’t Say It To Your Face”.
Surprisingly, stripping the music of synths, bass and percussion, adds a ton of emotional weight to the songs as focus narrows from the musical experience of the originals to the words that Graham so beautifully and powerfully articulates. Songs such as “Pills I Swallow”, “It Never Was The Same”, and “Drown So I Can Watch” are laid bare emotional gut punchers that radiate as much as they sting. Start to finish, Oran Mor Session is an all-encompassing and poignant experience best enjoyed uninterrupted with a top-end sound system or headphones.
With the recent announcement of The Twilight Sad’s upcoming tour dates with The Cure, it will be interesting to see if the band splices their set with original versions and some of these acoustic gems. A full acoustic session would be beautiful to experience but would leave drummer Mark Devine out and would be better suited to small venues and seated concert halls with top-notch acoustics.
If it does happen, don’t forget to bring along tissue.