Release Date: Jan 29, 2016
Record label: Cooking Vinyl
Turin Brakes came out of the starting traps in 2001 with The Optimist, an album that established their characteristic sound and a style all their own, epitomised – for this reviewer – by Underdog (Save Me) and its superb acoustic guitar solo. Since then the band’s sound has evolved, taking an electric direction that not everyone appreciated, but founding members Olly Knights and Gale Paridjanian were following their vision and unlike many bands from the turn of the millennium they have stayed together and kept their integrity. The result is Lost Property, their seventh studio album and one that manages to combine the strands of their work to date.
“It’s the quiet ones you’ve got to watch,” sings Olly Knights during Turin Brakes’ ninth album. “When you’re asleep, we’re waking up / You roll the dice, we write our luck. ” Long-term organisation and getting out of bed before 7am are not traditionally rock’s raunchiest lyrical themes, but coming from the nice blokes from the “New Acoustic Movement”, a track such as The Quiet Ones sounds like a knowingly arch reference to their roots.
There's a subtle folk influence in the music of Turin Brakes, but theirs is not music you're ever going to hear around a campfire on a chilly evening; instead, this is folk music for moody young people pondering life and love alone in their bedrooms late at night, and the fact group founders and key songwriters Olly Knights and Gale Paridjanian still have anything to say about these subjects 15 years after their first LP is a testimony to their enduring strength as both writers and recording artists. Arriving in 2016, Lost Property is dominated by gentle but thoughtful melodies built around guitar patterns where electric and acoustic sounds walk hand in hand, accompanied by dynamic bursts of keyboards and strings. The lines of these tracks are impressively clean and polished; while the performances often seem languid, the group's clever use of the relief between the loud and the quiet brings Lost Property an impact that's big and spacious, and the sweetly sad tone of the vocals is a good match for the emotions of the music, imaging a young person's world with the experience of a middle-aged man to draw upon.
Considering that Turin Brakes have only ever had relatively minor mainstream success, it is quite remarkable that they are still going strong 16 years after longtime friends Olly Knights and Gale Paridjanian first decided to form the band. In fact, they have outlasted many other acts that came to prominence around the millennium and had more instant success than the duo and their fellow bandmates Rob Allum and Eddie Myer. Part of the reason behind their staying power is their transition from hotly-tipped, next big things – Turin Brakes received a Mercury Prize nomination for their debut The Optimist LP way back in 2001 – to a space just on the outside of the mainstream.