The Twilight Sad

Here, It Never Snowed. Afterwards It Did

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Inspired by some stripped-down live sets they played, the Twilight Sad get radically gentle on Here, It Never Snowed. Afterwards It Did. Atmosphere was already one of the strong suits of their debut album, Fourteen Autumns & Fifteen Winters, but the Twilight Sad master it on this EP, making these versions of songs from that album strikingly different from, but just as powerful as, the originals. The mammoth drums and searing guitars that made Fourteen Autumns & Fifteen Winters such a visceral listen are largely replaced by fan organ, glockenspiel, and percussion, and while the results don't sound "unplugged," exactly, they have a unique purity. "Cold Days from the Birdhouse" drifts in on strings and frosty percussion, emphasizing the intimate, homespun feel that previously lurked around the edges of the Twilight Sad's music. On the other hand, "And She Would Darken the Memory" is vast, layering dully roaring guitars that sound like distant jet engines into a ghostly epic. Fittingly enough given its name, Here, It Never Snowed. Afterwards It Did radiates wintry beauty, whether it's the sleigh bells that drive "Walking for Two Hours" or the hypnotically chilly melody of the title track (and lone new song), which only makes James Graham's thick Scottish burr sound warmer and more vulnerable by contrast. The EP's finest moment, however, might be the cover of Daniel Johnston's "Some Things Last a Long Time," where the fan organ underscores the hymnal quality of the song's yearning. Though Here, It Never Snowed. Afterwards It Did offers a change of pace as well as potential directions for the Twilight Sad, it shares the same mix of catharsis and comfort -- not to mention disturbing cover artwork -- that graces all of the band's music, and presents it at its melancholy finest.

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