Turin Brakes, Outbursts
A spare, wistful record that beckons you aboard
"If we don't do this somebody else will" sing Olly Knights and Gale Paridjanian on Outbursts's "Sea Change." It's an inarguable point, given the surplus of competition that has amassed since 2001's The Optimist helped Turin Brakes spearhead what was then dubbed 'The New Acoustic Movement.' Happily, this Balham, South London-formed duo still deserve their seat at this particular table. Outbursts might never have been financed were it not for a lucrative piece of writing for UK boy band Take That (TB penned their 2008 track "Here") and, sobered and focussed by that fact, Knights and Paridjanian have made a record that's every bit as good as 2007's Dark On Fire.
Again, much of the spark emanates from Knights's androgynous, richly controlled vocals, notably on the slow-unfurling, '50s-style country ballad "The Letting Down," the late night jazz-tinged title track, and the weightless, harmony-rich "Paper Heart." Elsewhere, "Rocket Song", built upon some gently strummed acoustic guitar reminiscent of Nick Drake's "Northern Sky," achieves lift-off in a more ham-fisted Coldplay-like fashion, but much of Outbursts is quietly commanding. A spare, wistful record that beckons you aboard rather than grabbing you by the lapels.