Recording information: Oran M?r and Goodison House (09/01/2014/01/05/2015).
The Twilight Sad followed Nobody Wants to Be Here and Nobody Wants to Leave, one of the band's most lavish-sounding albums, with Oran M?r Session, a collection of stripped-down reworkings recorded in a converted church. Consisting of little more than voice and guitar, the EP trades towering post-punk for a deceptively simple approach. Removing Nobody's gorgeously dense sonics allows the band's songcraft to come to the fore with heartfelt clarity: where songs such as "Drown So I Can Watch" originally chronicled the crisis points of a relationship, here lyrics like "You put me through hell/But you carry it oh so well" are now steeped in the aftermath of emotional warfare. Similarly, the intimacy of "Nobody Wants to Be Here and Nobody Wants to Leave" and "Last January" feels even more weighty removed from the insulation and isolation of a wall of sound. Other high points include "The Airport," a former B-side that underscores just how strong the album's songwriting is, and an austere, organ-driven cover of Arthur Russell's "I Couldn't Say It to Your Face." While Oran M?r Session's simplicity sometimes borders on monochromatic, it's still a welcome companion piece to Nobody that proves the Twilight Sad don't need effects to be affecting. ~ Heather Phares
Clash (magazine) - "With only gentle piano melodies and guitars as accompaniment the sessions force the listener to truly soak up James Graham's emotive lyrics and belting voice."