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Turin Brakes - JackInABox


Review: Jack Foley

THE third album by Turin Brakes may have been recorded in Brixton rather than LA, but the sunshine melodies and happy go-lucky harmonies still reside comfortably in the Sunshine State.

JackInABox is a delicious album on many levels, not least because it continues to further Ollie Knights' and Gale Paridjanian's musical progression into an ever-more expansive sound.

There is a danger that the duo might sound a little repetitive given the confines of their acoustic guitar sound, yet by wrapping some lush pianos, some shuffling beats, and yet still keeping it simple, Turin Brakes show no sign of outstaying their welcome yet.

Take the lead single, Fishing For A Dream, for instance. It's instantly recognisable, yet in its enchanting chorus, there is a more epic sound to the record that is evidence of growing confidence.

The same is true for much of the album as a whole - this is no mere retread of Ether Song or The Optimist, but a furthering of the Turin Brakes' journey which is well worth hitching a ride on.

Opening track, They Can't Buy The Sunshine, for instance, is a warm introduction that's sure to generate a warm glow of familiarity among fans of the duo.

While Red Moon follows along in lively fashion, featuring a clap-happy backdrop and an urgent drum beat that places the acoustic guitars in the background.

The rousing chorus, especially, is evidence of the more expansive sound, and hints at a bright future for the duo - indeed, it's a shame there's not a little more of it.

But there's still plenty to enjoy.

The melancholic Road To Nowhere is a biting tale of tragedy and death that features the duo at their most bitter, no doubt influenced by the harsh world surrounding them.

Lyrics include, 'oh dad, aint it sad that we're on this road to nowhere'/ 'I'm only nine, I'm already feeling the strain/ it seems everyone is dying/ or curling up in pain/ well it's just a loser's game'.

Likewise, Last Clown, another sad tale that demonstrates the duo's strong songwriting ability. It concludes with a wonderful shuffling drum and piano sequence that, once more, demonstrates the more expansive sound of the album.

Above The Clouds is another classic, containing a nice strings/violin background that is quite enchanting. The track is more than capable of sending a shiver down the spine.

While the driving title track, JackInABox, is a lively, robust piece of pop that recalls that Southern Californian sunshine vibe I alluded to earlier.

If there is one criticism, it's that the occasional track does suffer from a feeling of over-familiarity, but it's a small price to pay for an album that screams out quality.

JackInABox therefore springs a pleasant surprise that only serves to enhance the reputation of one of London's most under-rated groups.

Track listing:
1. They Cant Buy The Sunshine
2. Red Moon
3. Forever
4. Asleep With The Fireflies
5. Fishing For A Dream
6. Road To Nowhere
7. Over And Over
8. Last Clown
9. Above The Clouds
10. Building Wraps Round Me
11. Jackinabox
12. Come And Go

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