Don’t call it a comeback – Turin Brakes return with album number seven

Turin Brakes
Turin Brakes
Driftwood Festival organiser Paul Cobb  Picture: Malcolm Wells (142242-6774C)

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We’ve coming back for the past five albums’ notes Gale Paridjanian wryly. ‘Let’s not count our chickens, but if it all ends now, it’s already done better than we’d hoped.’

Along with Olly Knights, Gale makes up the core duo of Turin Brakes who have just released their seventh album Lost Property.

The group emerged early this century as part of the ‘new acoustic’ movement, scoring big hits with tracks like Long Distance and Painkiller. Their debut album The Optimist was nominated for the Mercury Prize, and follow-up album Ether Song made it to number four in the charts and was certified gold.

While the band have retained a cult appeal, they wouldn’t argue that they are no longer at that commercial peak.

‘The last album We Were Here we just couldn’t even get a review in a broadsheet,’ says Gale, ‘but this time we’ve got pretty favourable reviews from all of them. It’s the best response we’ve had in years.

‘I couldn’t tell you why. Maybe when we were new, everyone was behind us and we had a big label with lots of money, and then after that everyone hates you, and then eventually everyone gives up devoting any energy to hating you, so people can start saying they like you again.

We’ve definitely written songs for this album that we wouldn’t have allowed through the filter before

Gale Paridjanian

‘It’s like the circle of love and hate has been completed,’ he laughs.

For the new album though, the pair decided to loosen up their approach to songwriting a bit, and to ‘not overthink it.’

As Gale explains: ‘If something sounded poppy, fine, if it sounded a bit not-poppy, fine.

‘In the past we’ve been kind of holding back things for our integrity’s sake: we don’t do this – we do that, but this time we said we’ll do whatever, and to everyone’s great relief we’ve finally stopped the battle.’

And Rob Allum and Eddie Myer, the long-serving members of their studio and live band, have also proved useful foils for the songwriting pair.

‘We’ve definitely written songs for this album that we wouldn’t have allowed through the filter before – we would have stopped it and said that’s not what we do, that’s too cheesy. But having Ed and Rob, we’ve been able to ask them what they think and they’ve said it sounds like Turin Brakes to us.’

They’re also reconciled to being part of the media-led new acoustic movement.

‘At the time we felt unhappy that we were put in with these bands that we didn’t really feel we had any similarities with, and there was no sort of camaraderie. But these things happen, and in a way it meant the press did a few articles on it, and we were included in those.

‘When we got signed it was pretty much electronic music, so signing acoustic acts was vey much against what was going on at the time and I think that might have had something to do with it.

‘You could say that us and our peers at the time have turned out to be quite influential as it’s pretty normal now to see a guy with an acoustic guitar bothering the pop charts, it’s pretty normal.’

And he laughs again: ‘We take credit for it all, that’s what we’re saying.’

Wednesday, February 26

The Brook, Southampton

the-brook.com