Over the years, the Twilight Sad have mastered many flavors of brooding and bittersweet, from their debut album Fourteen Autumns & Fifteen Winters' folky atmospheres to No One Can Ever Know's hard-edged electronics. They've been around long enough to look back, and that's what they do on Nobody Wants to Be Here and Nobody Wants to Leave. Inspired by their late-2013 and early-2014 live performances of Fourteen Autumns & Fifteen Winters and with their songwriting honed by No One's stark experiments, the Twilight Sad transform everything that came before into some of their most compelling music. By blending the extremes of their previous albums, they give intimate moments an epic scope in ways that sound truly revitalized. As the title implies, Nobody Wants to Be Here and Nobody Wants to Leave captures the point in a relationship when staying together and breaking up sound equally appealing and terrible. It's an emotional state detailed by bleakly beautiful songs ranging from the dramatic post-punk of "There's a Girl in the Corner," "Last January," and "I Could Give You All That You Don't Want" to the lusher but just as haunted sounds of the swooning "Pills I Swallow" and the title track's brilliant shoegaze, which sounds like My Bloody Valentine's "Soon" with all of its hushed romance turned into pleading. Lyrically, the group also uses all the tools at its disposal to convey the album's conflicting moods: singer James Graham is alternately callous and wounded throughout, whether delivering wry barbs like "I put you through hell/But you carry it oh so well" on "Drown So I Can Watch" or simply baring it all on "Sometimes I Wished I Could Fall Asleep," where the ghostly echo on his voice when he sings "There's nothing left for us" is painfully vulnerable. Equally desolate and majestic, Nobody Wants to Be Here and Nobody Wants to Leave's naked emotions and sophisticated music mark a new high point for the Twilight Sad.
AllMusic Review by Heather Phares