The Twilight Sad preceded its full-length debut Fourteen Autumns & Fifteen Winters with a self-titled EP that contained "That Summer At Home I Had Become The Invisible Boy," a song exciting and poignant enough to stand with the classics of UK indie-pop, from "Teenage Kicks" to early Belle & Sebastian. "Invisible Boy" pops up again on the album, where its shimmering feedback, circular cadence, and swoony memories of a desperately idle youth establish a theme. As the title implies, Fourteen Autumns & Fifteen Winters is an album about adolescence, written and recorded by people not trying to relive the past, but reflecting on it with a sense of perspective and hard-won wisdom.
The Twilight Sad isn't exactly making music for teens, either. The songs on Fourteen Autumns are loud, and graced with long-line melodies that are easy to hum, but there's nothing quick or disposable about them. The band started in Glasgow in 2003 as a freeform post-rock outfit, constructing epic instrumental jams. Those origins persist on tracks like "Last Year's Rain Didn't Fall Quite So Hard," which builds plunking piano, bursts of slide guitar, and a singsong chorus into a minimalist mini-symphony, somber and sweet.
Lead singer James Graham gives The Twilight Sad a lot of personality, with his gentlemanly burr and passionate croon, which can make lines like "Where have the colors gone?" sound sincere instead of sappy. But the band's biggest strength is its willingness to start a song in mid-sprawl—frequently with an opening line that continues a previously interrupted train of thought—and then to radiate out, untethered. The Twilight Sad's songs may wind up in the same old rooms, populated by the ghosts of people long gone, but they roam far before they get back home.