The Twilight Sad are one of the more conventional-sounding bands on Fat Cat -- that is, if cathartic, widescreen rock augmented by accordions and melodies rooted in Scottish folk can be called conventional. Fourteen Autumns & Fifteen Winters expands on the searing, earnest sound of the band's self-titled EP; indeed, several of the Twilight Sad's best songs are also highlights here. "That Summer, at Home I Became the Invisible Boy" just might be the band's definitive song: guitars shimmer and build up into poetic squalls; James Graham's appealingly thick Scottish burr imbues lyrics like "Kids are on fire in the bedroom" with tenderness; Mark Devine's powerful but nuanced drumming cuts a swath through the melody but doesn't overpower it; and accordions add an unexpected, homespun warmth. "And She Would Darken the Memory" is another standout that underscores the similarity between the Twilight Sad's sound and the luminously anthemic side of the Walkmen or Interpol. However, the Twilight Sad have a more free-flowing approach than either of those bands, especially on the stunning "Talking with Fireworks/Here, It Never Snowed," which comes in like a lion with torrents of drums and guitars, and goes out like a lamb with a sparkling, hypnotic guitar melody. "Last Year's Rain Didn't Fall So Hard" is a gorgeous glimpse of a song that fades in and out, suggesting that it goes on forever, a feeling echoed by the instrumental title track, which closes the album with more of the wonderful atmosphere that makes the rest of Fourteen Autumns & Fifteen Winters accessible, but ultimately far from conventional. The density of the Twilight Sad's sound evokes wide open spaces, yet the louder they are, the more intimate they sound -- these kinds of paradoxes make this album a powerful debut.
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AllMusic Review by Heather Phares