Review of Ether Song Album by Turin Brakes

Turin Brakes - Ether Song

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Turin Brakes - New Album Ether Song Reviewed
The New Acoustic Movement, which Turin Brakes were born out of or tied into depending on your point of view, is dead and gone. In 2003, the kids are moving to a different beat provided by The New Rock Revolution, and it's loud and dirty. It would be easy then for a band who ply a very English brand of folk nostalgia to be crushed under the feet of The White Stripes and friends. But Turin Brakes are more than just Buckley/Drake revivalists; they are that bit different that bit darker.

'Ether Song' is the follow up to 2001's excellent 'The Optimist LP' and it will book Olly Knights and Gale Paridjanian's place in the semi big time. The first single from the album, the sweepingly beautiful 'Pain Killer' is about to go top five. Where Coldplay went, Turin Brakes will follow.

And this is a record of far greater scope than their previous work, the sound is fuller, the fragile acoustic framework bolstered by piano and even electric guitar. Whereas quiet was once the new loud it now seems that fairly loud is the new loud.

One complaint is that 'Ether Song' is overproduced, too polished and this leads the record dangerously close to the bland.

Turin Brakes - New Album Ether Song Reviewed  @
Turin Brakes - New Album Ether Song Reviewed  @

What saves it from that is the pair's knack for dark pop melody, seen in full bloom on standout track, 'Long Distance'. And also to fantastic effect on the wondrous 'Panic Attack', which owes a debt to another idiosyncratically, English band, Pink Floyd.

Lyrically, Knights still favours the ambiguity of a Michael Stipe, but this slipperiness only serves to increase the attendant mystery.

'Ether Song' then, shoots for the stars, not merely folk, but Space Folk.

Alistair Hann