An uncommonly well-named band, the Twilight Sad's music is defined as much by their brooding yet empathetic songwriting as it is by James Graham's pronounced Scottish burr and Andy MacFarlane's massive guitars. On early albums such as 2007's Fourteen Autumns & Fifteen Winters, the vast expanses in their songs and rustic touches like accordions were borrowed from post-rock and folk, but they continued to innovate as the years passed. On 2012's No One Can Ever Know, they reimagined industrial and motorik sounds, and took their music to anthemic heights on 2014's widely acclaimed Nobody Wants to Be Here and Nobody Wants to Leave. By the time they honed their post-punk chops on 2019's It Won't Be Like This All the Time, the Twilight Sad proved they were adept at revealing different shades of heartbreak and hope with each release.
The Twilight Sad rose from Glasgow, Scotland, in late 2003, when guitarist Andy MacFarlane and vocalist James Graham -- who began playing together in high school -- decided to take their music more seriously. Along with drummer Mark Devine, with whom they'd played in a covers band, Graham and MacFarlane added bassist Craig Orzel to the fold. After playing a couple of shows in Glasgow that featured extensive pieces of music using an abundance of instruments, they holed up in the studio to record a four-song demo that they presented to FatCat Records in September 2005. The label signed the band after their third show and issued the Twilight Sad's self-titled debut EP as a U.S.-only release in November 2006; the full-length Fourteen Autumns & Fifteen Winters arrived the following April. The 2008 EP Here, It Never Snowed. Afterwards It Did featured acoustic reworkings of several of the album's songs, plus a cover of Daniel Johnston's "Some Things Last a Long Time." The compilation Killed My Parents and Hit the Road, which featured versions of songs by the Smiths and Joy Division among its previously unreleased tracks, also arrived that year.
The Twilight Sad continued to tour as they worked on their second album, playing dates in the U.S. with Mogwai as well as appearing in the U.K. Forget the Night Ahead, which had a darker, more streamlined approach than the band's earlier work and was co-produced by guitarist McFarlane and the Delgados' Paul Savage, was released in September 2009. The following February, Orzel left the Twilight Sad, who added bassist Johnny Docherty to their touring lineup. In September 2010, the Wrong Car EP featured remixes by Errors and Mogwai. Two years later, the Twilight Sad returned with No One Can Ever Know, a cold, electronic-based set of songs featuring production by Two Lone Swordsmen's Andrew Weatherall. The group continued this electronic direction with a remix collection featuring Com Truise, Liars, and Optimo that was released late in 2012.
Following the departure of keyboardist Martin Doherty (who left to pursue his other group, Chvrches), the Twilight Sad recorded 2014's Nobody Wants to Be Here and Nobody Wants to Leave at Mogwai's Castle of Doom studio. Mixed by Peter Katis -- who also worked on Fourteen Autumns & Fifteen Winters -- the album reflected all of the past and present aspects of the band's sound. Late that year, the group released the limited-edition Òran Mór Session EP, which featured stripped-down versions of songs from Nobody Wants to Be Here and Nobody Wants to Leave as well as covers. Initially available only at the band's shows, the EP was given wider release in October 2015 with extra tracks. Nobody Wants to Be Here and Nobody Wants to Leave earned the band a fan in the Cure's Robert Smith, who took the Twilight Sad on multiple tours in 2016. The following year, Graham's other group Out Lines, which also included singer/songwriter Kathryn Joseph and producer Marcus Mackay, released their debut album, Conflats.
Early in 2018, Devine left the Twilight Sad shortly before they made their next album. Graham and MacFarlane recruited drummer Johnny Scott and made Docherty and touring keyboardist Brendan Smith full-fledged members of the band (after the sessions for the album, Sebastian Schultz became their permanent drummer). Recorded at Middle Farm Studios in Devon, England, with Andy Bush and input from Smith, It Won't Be Like This All the Time appeared in January 2019 and marked the group's debut for Mogwai's label Rock Action. The album made an appearance on Billboard's Heatseekers chart, and they returned early the next year with the Rats 7".