Just a little while ago I met up, after far too long, with an old friend. The anxieties of how we might have changed, how we’d no longer have those things that once made us close, dissipated in moments; what had I been worried about.
The wait for We Were Here from Turin Brakes, the first new album in a long while, had me similarly anxious that it might simply not be as good as it used to be, that somehow the stutters in their most recent albums might have developed into a disappointment.
But hey, what have we here? Well, blow me down, an absolute stonker of an album. Within a few moments I just knew that they were not only back on track, but had a new fire in their bellies, the glowing embers had caught light and they have produced perhaps their best thing yet.
It’s almost as if they have produced a Best Of but with all new songs. But better than that, there is a bold and ballsy attitude, a bunch of chaps with something new to say, cracked out with a confidence and sure-footed ness.
All the things that made them so well loved are there, the strong hooks and melodies, the quality of playing, but now with added ‘sposh’. Olly’s vocals are warmer and more mature (much like on his fabulous, writers-block breaking solo effort If Not Now When), a man back in his groove and driven with a renewed urgency. Gale’s wonderful guitar is there in spades, nicely upfront with satisfying extended passages. Rob Allen’s percussion and Eddie ‘the caveman’ Myer’s bass hold it tightly together; but truly it’s in a live setting these two blossom and shine. In fact this album has much more of the feel and energy you get from any TB gig, where they excel. Having heard tracks like Sleeper in past gigs, you know just how this set of songs will take flight played live.
Clocking in at a healthy 54 minutes or so, the album doesn’t really put a foot wrong, rolling through the dozen tracks with aplomb, a little musical lull here and there and then lifted up again so you barely notice that nearly an hour has slipped past. Early favourites like Blindsided Again and Sleeper will no doubt be joined by the slower burn tracks, but already here is an album that has earned its place at the top of the TB pile of achievements.
Having seen them countless times I know what a joy their gigs are, but now we have this set of toons to look forward to as well, its not going to be possible any longer for one gig to hold all my favourites. Still let’s see what they can do when they play my backyard in Stroud in a couple of weeks, I predict a, gentlemanly and grown up, riot. Welcome back old friends, top job indeed.