Album Review: Turin Brakes – Lost Property
Over the course of the last 15 years, Balham buddies Olly Knights and Gale Paridjanian have turned out a handful of releases that have kept the folk/indie spark burning exceptionally bright. While initially a duo, Olly and Gale welcomed in long-term collaborators, Rob Allum and Eddie Myer to the official Turin Brakes family a couple of albums back and they are preparing for the release of a truly exceptional catalogue addition – Lost Property.
The bands last record, 2013’s We Were Here, provided the band with a blank canvas to paint a more bluesy offering while new LP Lost Property, which sees its release this week, dives headfirst into the bands earlier guitar driven, laid-back and almost cinematic sound that made their Optimist LP debut so successful and helped shape Turin Brakes’ sound and define the outfit as a top player within their genre.
Opening track and lead single ‘96 pulls us right into the bands new effort; radio frequency effects cracking the lid on one of the bands finest singles of recent years. Its punchy rhythm and infectious two-line chorus carries a vibe ripped right from the heart of the nineties; perhaps paying tribute to the bands pre-Optimist career preparation and the heyday of Britpop.
While ‘96 fronts the record as its lead single, Keep Me Around stands heavy footed in pop terrain and acts as single number two for the record; the “do do do do” vocal interjections and a fluffy bridge taking us into an encouraging, light chorus that sits atop a subtle yet beautiful and fulfilling string arrangement that provides the cherry on the top of this stunning inclusion to Lost Property.
The Quite Ones reminds us, structurally, of early career notable State of Things: perhaps a long overdue sister track for the Optimist LP hit. The number builds from an appropriate quiet opening with guitars; a pulsating beat soon joining Knights who delivers one of the records most exquisite vocal-focussed numbers; carrying his unique and distinctive vocal throughout the tracks mid-tempo and almost country-inspired melody.
Sitting toward the end of the record, Hope We Make It dips a psychedelic toe into Lost Property with wailing guitars finding time to shine at various points during the duration of the song, adding further contrast within the stellar tracklisting of the record. The number also showcases the bands songsmith genius; lines like “the cards are stacked and out of whack / you’re wrong way down a one way track / There’s a wave of change that’s rising” which open the number, reassuring fans that the bands deep lyrical well is far from running dry.
One of the most mesmerizing, albeit sombre numbers to be found on Lost Property is the gorgeous Save You. Dripping with sentiment and containing some of the records most inspiring lyrics, Save You is another Lost Property notable that could easily find its way to radio playlists. Its rich, dramatic ballad backbone is one of the bands finest pieces of work to date as it sits modestly within the collections mainly uptempo tracklisting; moving gently through the record with memorable, string-complimented instrumentation and a subtle gospel undercurrent nearing the tracks end.
The band have always delivered rawness in their records; a quality that is synonymous with the collectives previous records, and a quality that is resident throughout the entirety of Lost Property. Additions like the epic Brighter Than The Dark showcases this element of the bands work as the track ebs and flows between stripped back melodies with finger-clicking, clapping and recording studio sound effects providing listeners with a glimpse behind the scenes before a more commercially produced vein and string section takes the reigns and a powerful vocal where the band unite to deliver, allows tracks like this to soar and display a close-knit and effective musical unit where no one individual talent has more share of the spotlight.
While previous record We Were Here was more a record built for the bands long time fans, Lost Property has a feel to it that is much more suited to the mainstream. Tracks like Rome and Save You, among many others featured on this new record, provide Lost Property with ample single potentials that are just waiting to be plucked and playlisted.
While Turin Brakes have never been able to fully instill themselves into music’s mainstream, their craft has been celebrated time and time again through their impeccably crafted and positively received repertoire and Lost Property truly feels like a record from a band that has found another opportunity to elevate to the next level. Lost Property is a unique and superbly executed record – vocally and instrumentally – from a band who have honed in each of their strong points and shone a light on each and every one of them throughout these 11 new numbers with meticulous precision and astounding beauty.