Album Review: Turin Brakes – We Were Here
Over a decade into a career that has seen Balham singer-songwriter duo Turin Brakes release a string of successful EP’s and albums and gain a legion of fans around the world, album #6 has been completed and unveiled.
Though the title for the new album may stipulate a departure for the act, they show no signs of slowing the momentum on a career that has gone from strength to strength over the years. We Were Here is a fine welcome back to one of the most inspiring acts to grace the musical world and sees Turin Brakes return with a much more bluesy sound than we have perhaps heard on the bands previous studio accomplishments.
The band is known for their singles Painkiller, Underdog and to a slightly lesser degree, Sea Change, the lead single from their last record, Outbursts. Though they have not quite achieved the level of success as other artists who are paddling in the same genre pool, the band have continued to deliver some of the most exceptional and instrumentally intricate song writing masterpieces in recent years. That may very well change however with their new album and a secured deal with the recently formed U.S label Red River Entertainment and a much more Americana glazing, roping in some southern twang, slide guitar and blues drenched pennings that will definitely persuade the yankee masses.
We Were Here is driven by the records first single, Time and Money. Accompanied by a rather gory yet memorable video, Time and Money is a sure-fire hit for the pair and is the perfect introduction to where the band are at these days, musically. The track incorporates their signature acoustic stamp and joins the ranks alongside other powerful lead singles delivered by the duo that has really built up anticipation for this new Turin Brakes record. Gale also gets some limelight in the track with a spectacular guitar solo. I just fine myself in awe of this guy’s guitar skills – impeccable!
The title track follows and is a laid-back and stripped back singalong that could have easily been a cut from the band’s debut Optimist LP effort, displaying a similar structure to songs on that record and offering us a nice slice of nostalgia at the same time before Dear Dad, with its uplifting chorus harmonies and groaning bass lines is a fine addition to the opening half of the record that throws the bands musicianship into the spotlight – just listen to what’s going on in the background on this track. This inclusion is brimming with instruments and effects but never once sounds overindulged or messy; instead it delivers us a finely crafted and musically intricate masterpiece.
Blindsided Again is an obvious single for the record with enormous potential thanks to its hook drenched structure and thought provoking lyricism. Along with Time and Money, Blindsided Again sits within the new collection as one of its more mainstream seasoned inclusions and an easily distinguished favourite within We Were Here.
Genres less frequently heard on Turin Brakes records show face on We Were Here in fine form; Part of the World ropes in a country dressed instrumentation while Stop The World, with its infectious and euphoric chorus, pulls together some psychedelic melodies to give the record its musically diverse filling.
Sleeper pulls together a bass heavy, bluesy rhythm with Olly’s distinctive vocals that are slowly drawn over the tracks infectious melody. Within the number is a series of memorable lines like “I join the robots, out on the pavement, a dream cut me loose” which are placed around the songs melodically contrasting but fitting chorus before a steel-string guitar wreaks havoc on In Between, a powerful mid-tempo track with a catchy, flowing rhythm and Olly’s flawless vocals making this one of the highlights of We Were Here.
We Were Here is a truly spectacular return for the lads of Turin Brakes. It’s rich in memorable tune smith moments, radio craving melodies and hooks that lace through each and every track making the record sound more like a greatest hits collection than a new studio record. It’s everything we were hoping for and so much more from Turin Brakes after a 3 year studio record absence and a pretty evident statement that these guys aren’t going anywhere anytime soon other than on to globally promising pastures greener and that couldn’t be a more deserving direction for these guys!