thu 18/08/2022

CD: Turin Brakes - Lost Property | reviews, news & interviews

CD: Turin Brakes - Lost Property

CD: Turin Brakes - Lost Property

The Balham boys say if it ain't broke don't fix it

There's something comforting about Turin Brakes and their psychedelic take on Seventies folk-rock. Partly it's their melodies. But there's also an inherent honesty in the duo's tight harmonies and dreamy rhythms. Indeed, once upon a time Olly Knights and Gale Paridjanian seemed the future of British acoustic rock. Instead we got the likes of James Morrison and Mumford and Sons.

Still, Turin Brakes never went away, and Lost Property, their seventh studio album, is their best for quite a while.

The record kicks off with "96" and "Keep Me Around", both of which are marked by an infectiousness reminiscent of The Optimist LP. The latter, of course, was responsible for elevating Knights and Paridjanian from bedsit wannabes to Mercury nominees, through a skilful combination of earnest yearning and singable tunes. That sense of craftsmanship also pervades much of Lost Property. There's a subtlety to the title track, for instance, that brings to mind Beck's Morning Phase. Similarly, the intimate finger-picking of "Martini" echoes John Martyn circa the late Sixties.

Regrettably where the pair abandon subtlety and nuance in favour of broad choruses things unravel a little. It happens on "Save You" and part of "Jump Start" which ultimately feel saccharine more than emotional. Of course, this isn't entirely new – the band has, after all, previously drawn comparisons with Coldplay and Travis. But you can't help thinking it's not a direction to consciously aim for. After all, Knights can also sound a lot like Jeff Buckley, a master of the dark, soaring slow-burning epic. And we get some of that with the towering gloom of "Black Rabbit" with which Knights and Paridjanian end the album. Fragile and huge at the same time, it's one of the most affecting tracks they've recorded.

Overleaf: watch Turin Brakes' video for "96"

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