Turin Brakes : Birmingham Academy

Nu-acoustic heroes find another gear

In many ways, it’s a wonder that these guys are still here at all. The unrelenting onslaught of follicly-enhanced lunk-rockers from Scandanavia, Detroit and New Zealand should have really left the corpse of Turin Brakes twitching under a pile of amps and sweat stained flying V’s by now. But, unlike many of their turtle-neck sweater-wearing new acoustic movement contemporaries, the duo have returned to spread themselves a little more evenly across the musical cosmos.

As far as new directions go, this is hardly a radical overhaul. Olly Knights and Gale Paridjanian are still the kind of dream son-in-laws they always were; softly spoken, polite, unnecessarily apologetic and about as rock ‘n’ roll as Coldplay having a quick game of dominoes. If ‘Stone Thrown’ is any indication, the debt they owe to grizzly folk-rocker Neil Young remains outstanding, but it’s the unnerving spaced-out folk and the quiet/loud dynamics of moments like ‘Little Brother’ that truly mark the point at which the previously muted strummers expand out of the acoustic straight jacket into something that’s much less clearly defined. From now on, if anyone asks you what the Turin Brakes are like, just reply with glazed eyes – they sound like the ether. Maaaan.

Hardeep Phull