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Turin Brakes - Invisible Storm (Review)

Turin Brakes, Invisible Storm

Review by Jack Foley

IndieLondon Rating: 4 out of 5

ANYONE thinking that they’d heard pretty much all that Turin Brakes had to offer had best think again. The band’s eighth studio album could be their most ambitious yet – and arguably one of their finest.

Released a little under two years after 2016’s critically-acclaimed album Lost Property, the tracks enclosed within actually came about following the creative surge that accompanied that last release.

For no sooner had the band (Olly Knights, Gale Paridjanian, Rob Allum and Eddie Myer) released it, then they were back at the legendary Rockfield Studios in Wales (where Queen recorded Bohemian Rhapsody) to strike while the inspiration was buzzing… no downtime!

The resulting album embodies many of the classic Turin Brakes traits, namely the acoustic centre of the band’s sound, while also broadening it out to include indie-pop grooves, folk-rock reminiscent of classic Fleetwood Mac and even symphonic undertakings that err towards the epic.

It’s a wonderful journey, enlivened by several surprising stylistic flourishes – and one that, crucially, works as a complete package rather than in fits and starts.

Evidence of this sparkling creativity is to be found from the outset, with opening track Would You Be Mine hitting listeners with the kind of kaleidoscopic pop that bands like Keane might be proud of. There’s propulsive beats and synths and a greater sense of urgency than – perhaps – some people give Turin Brakes credit for.

It’s followed by former single Wait, which serves up a delightful, twisty, handclap driven pop classic that’s comparable, instrumentally at least, to something Beck might produce. The chorus, meanwhile, ups the tempo further and is positively brimming with sing-along energy (“are you going to make me wait for it?”), complete with some brilliant guitar hooks.

Always has a folk-pop breeze to it that recalls some classic American acts, emerging as the type of song you might like to accompany you on a sun-drenched road trip down some American highway. The inclusion of a banjo-infused chorus is a nice touch, too, while the “doo doo da do doo” harmonies are, again, mainstream pleasing. And who can’t get behind a sentiment like “to get to easy, you’ve got to go through hard?”

Then there’s Lost In The Woods which, to me, harked back to Go Your Own Way-era Fleetwood Mac. It’s just a great song with classic rock traits.

Indeed, it’s not until fifth track Deep Sea Diver that the album actually indulges Turin Brakes’ acoustic sound. And here it’s stripped right back to raw intimacy, weaving another compelling yarn and reminding you that even when keeping things simple, they have a way with song-writing.

Thereafter, the pace continues to be varied – and rewardingly so. Further highlights come from title track Invisible Storm, which starts out sombre and piano-based, before building towards another of the album’s more epic choruses; and Tomorrow, which reverts back to the ear-pleasing acoustic sound that is so disarmingly effective, complete with catchy (if sometimes downright cheesy) chorus.

Better still, though, is the sharp Everything All At Once, which returns the urgency to the LP with some slick guitar licks, pounding drums and a real sense of drive. It’s a track mired in doubt and desperation (“crashing my car to get near you”) that nevertheless retains a sense of optimism that translates well to the listener.

And then there’s Smoke And Mirrors, which has an air of the psychedelic about it early on, before broadening into a strings-backed epic that Pink Floyd might be proud of. It’s a slow-builder that creeps into your subconscious, getting better and more complex with each listen.

In short, Turin Brakes have created something of a masterpiece with Invisible Storm.

Download picks: Would You Be Mine, Wait, Lost In The Woods, Everything All At Once, Smoke and Mirrors

Track listing:

  1. Would You Be Mine
  2. Wait
  3. Always
  4. Lost In The Woods
  5. Deep Sea Diver
  6. Life Forms
  7. Invisible Storm
  8. Everything All At Once
  9. Tomorrow
  10. Smoke and Mirrors
  11. Don’t Know Much