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Tuesday, 10 September 2013 |
Without looking back it can be hard to look forward with any conviction - and Turin Brakes new album, We Were Here, appears to prove the point.
Elements of their seminal Optimist LP are there to behold, particularly in the title track as well as the album opener, ‘Time And Money’. The sweetly distinctive vocal harmonies and earthy guitar tones that put the folk-inspired duo of Olly Knights and Gale Paridjanian on the map in the early ‘00s are as rich as ever on this, their sixth studio effort.
Underlining the organic sound of We Were Here is a recording process that saw the band play live to tape in a two-week studio session that gave birth to the dozen tracks making up the album.
In ‘Blindsided Again’, an epic six-minute slice of blues-tinged psychedelia, Knights sings of imaginary spacemen and atom bombs as electric slide guitar and a haunting string arrangement meld together to single Turin Brakes out as far more than your run-of-the-mill acoustic guitar duo.
Such is the electric influence on the track it’s clear the band’s spirit of constant reinvention is alive and well – though this headier sound is far more the exception than the rule on this album.
‘Dear Dad’ is another with a harder edge but there are also more mournful-sounding song titles like ‘Stop The World’ that hint at a general feeling of existential malcontent – far from the Optimist of a decade ago.
Knights sings “stop the world and let me off/stop this ride I’ve had too much” but it all plays out as much like a want to escape as downright pessimism.
While themes such as loneliness and confusion present regularly in Knight’s lyrics, ‘Guess You Heard’ is a notably upbeat departure that lifts the mood mid-album before a return to the sombre for closing track, ‘Goodbye’.
Far from just providing fans with a reminder of what they were capable of in their first flush of youth, We Were Here stands as proof that two men, their voices and guitars (and faithful rhythm section) still have plenty to give going forward.
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