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Though the Twilight Sad's debut, Fourteen Autumns & Fifteen Winters, and its follow-up, Forget the Night Ahead, were released only two years apart, it feels like more time than that elapsed in the band's evolution. Granted, the band kept busy during that time, releasing the EP Here, It Never Snowed, Afterwards It Did and the compilation album Killed My Parents and Hit the Road and touring with acts like Mogwai. Just how important that activity was to this album becomes apparent quickly: one of the songs collected on Killed My Parents and Hit the Road was the band's cover of the Smiths' "Half a Person," and Forget the Night Ahead's lead track, "Reflection of the Television," with its dense guitars and James Graham's sullen croon, sounds uncannily like a collaboration between Morrissey and Mogwai. While those elements have always been present in the Twilight Sad's music, they've never been so clear; indeed, one of the most notable things about the album is just how much clearer the band's sound is here than it was on Fourteen Autumns & Fifteen Winters. Here, a heavier, denser attack replaces that album's atmospheric drift; these songs are as moody as ever, but muscular -- the guitar roar on "I Became a Prostitute" and "That Birthday Present" recalls Shellac as much as it does My Bloody Valentine or the Twilight Sad's other cited influences. The band's writing is also more direct, giving the album a blunter feel, but the emotions swirling in these songs are still complex. Regret, revenge, and reassurance mingle in Graham's voice when he sings "You and I will bury them all" on "Interrupted" or "Blood is never spilled after dinner" on "The Room." The delicacy and epic sweep of the Twilight Sad's first album is missed occasionally on Forget the Night Ahead, but the progress they've made is fascinating -- and rewarding -- to hear.