Turin Brakes – Outbursts (Cooking Vinyl) 01/03/2010
March 25, 2010 by Joe Morrison
Turin Brakes could quite well be the Godfathers of soft rock-pop country tinged folk scene, of which they’ve cornered the market for some ten years now. Judging by their album sales it is a niche market, but one well loved by it‘s modest throng.
They therefore have a solid fan base, so yes, if you like soft rock-pop country tinged folk then you’re going to love them, and you’re going to love their latest oeuvre, Outbursts. So if you’re not a follower of soft rock-pop country tinged folk, look away now, as this is not the review you’re looking for.
I’ve never understood the relative success of the band, who were always cited as a breakthrough band, but have only really grabbed mainstream attention with 2003’s Painkiller (Summer Rain), and their more recent work with Take That on ‘The Circus’ album.
Now I’ve no problem with a band not breaking through to mainstream. Some of the best bands out there bubble under the radar, plying their trade and more frequently creating new and exciting ideas. My problem is that Turin Brakes have created some of the most awfully nagging, languid, insipid music, that if propelled to the mainstream public really would be the sort of mainstream radio fodder – much as their 2003 top 5 hit – that would eventually be labelled alongside some sublime contemporaries (see Fleet Foxes, Bon Iver, Mumford & Sons etc.)
I’m not disputing that they have, in time, released one or two gems, such as title track from last album ‘Dark on Fire’ and the extremely promising debut EP ‘The Door’, but in such a long time so much has been released that puts their mostly monotonous drivel to shame. Outbursts follows suit.
I really did try to give the album a chance. I listened four or five times – at least – but it was so mundane it made it difficult to even care to get this far into the review. It was a shame that the one song I finally warmed to was album opener and first single ‘Sea Change’, actually a neat little song, which would have been a great one if they hadn’t thrown in the bongos and the self deprecating lyric ‘If we don’t do this somebody else will’. Unfortunately someone else has. and so much better.
The only other tracks which could even begin to change opinions are the pretty country of ‘Paper Heart’, or the almost good , Smallville theme tune attempting ‘Will Power’. These could have been released in 1990, yet not because they are timeless classics, just because they are as if time had forgotten them.
The rest of the album has been playing through since writing this review, and I’ll never knowingly be playing again. So to surmise, just as my review won’t be winning over any Turin Brakes fans, it’s as likely Outbursts will win the band, or the soft rock-pop country tinged folk genre any new fans either.