It is just over five years since the Lad and I went to see Turin Brakes at the Academy in Bristol as the Lads first live gig. I have held a special place for TB since their first album The Optimist. Back around 2005 they were heralded as part of the then new folk/acoustic revival, but it is a burden to be tagged to any particular ‘wave’, and in some respects the indie band period took the sheen from TB’s star.
Outbursts is the fifth TB album and was paid for I believe from the royalties accrued from a Take That track that the chaps wrote. Given my allegiances I felt curiously disloyal to feel the album a disappointment. On first plays only the opening and closing tracks seemed to have the old TB magic, the whole feeling a bit downbeat, a little careworn and weary.
But it’s an album that is repaying repeated listens. Yes, Sea Change is the most immediate but tracks like Mirror and Rocket Song also give up their pleasures. There is an abundance of what the Lad calls ‘soft’ tracks, Paper Heart and The Invitation as examples but these are carefully written and crafted songs. Embryos is an odd track that I can’t yet warm to , but given a little time the whole set has opened up and is rewarding, maybe not the immediacy of some earlier TB albums, but good none the less, and the closing title track, Outbursts, is beautiful
Much is said about the second album but I wonder rather if it is not around the fourth or fifth that the difficulties rise up – how do you keep a band sounding fresh, how do you avoid falling into a musical rut? Not to say that TB are in a rut but to put out another few albums might require a jolt of some sort…. now that is sounding disloyal isn’t it? Well we are due to see them for our annual TB show at the Shepherds Bush Empire, and I am sure they will do us proud once again
Sea Change – ascent of man from Turin Brakes on Vimeo.