It’s a common practice that following an album’s success, a companion EP is released within a year’s time. Fresh on the heels of their 2007 debut album, Fourteen Autumns & Fifteen Winters, The Twilight Sad have followed in the footsteps of this practice. The Scotland-based band received plenty of praise for their debut from many sources, including yours truly. They were able to craft an emotionally-charged album that drew new fans and left many of us in awe.
Riding these triumphs, the band has released an accompanying EP that recalls a lot of the great music from last year’s LP. This new EP, Here, it Never Snowed. Afterwards it Did, is a great counterpart to the band’s catalog. It features six songs, four of which are stripped down versions of songs from last year’s album and two new songs. These are songs that paint illustrious and glorious pictures; the music is enchanting and blissful.
The album opens with the charming, “Cold Days from the Birdhouse.” James Graham’s voice is heartrending and the music encompasses a gentle guitar line, a melodic piano part and plenty of reverb. It’s a much softer and quieter affair from last year’s version; the tempo is slower and the entire song is much more subdued. “And She Would Darken the Memory” is a slow-burning, slow-moving piece that places the focus on Graham’s voice. The music is minimal and the only melody is carried out by Graham himself. It’s a splendid method; one that showcases the band’s gifted musicianship.
One of the new songs is the catchy title track that is supported by a chugging bass, a guitar that closely resembles a keyboard instrument and Graham’s emotional voice. Its purpose isn’t to show where the band is going next — this was recorded during the previous album’s sessions — but it serves as a fitting center-point to the EP’s music. The other new song is the closer, “Some Things Last a Long Time.” It’s an organ-infused, seven minute, tour de force that gradually builds into a budding and moving work. Instruments are added as the song progresses before it calmly decrescendos to bring the album to a peaceful close.
There certainly isn’t anything new and exciting on this EP but that isn’t a bad thing either — this is the work of a band flexing their muscle. Last year’s album was successful because of the way the band was able to explore wide-ranging music with walls of guitars and Graham’s explosive Scottish drawl. And although there may not be as many “fireworks” on this much calmer EP, it’s a great reminder of this promising band’s talent. It’s an aggressive approach and though some will complain about the lack of new material, is an accomplished listen.