Cooking Vinyl (label)
26 January 2018 (released)
23 January 2018
Turin Brakes return with the disappointing studio album Invisible Storm.
Formed in London, the four-piece band have sold over 1 million records across seven albums. The band’s original duo of Olly Knights and Gale Paradganien even boast the honour of a Mercury prize nomination for debut The Optimist.
The outfit’s last offering, Lost Property was praised for having a “quiet complexity” (the Guardian).
Sadly, for all its reflections on life and love, Invisible Storm fails to build on the high praise.
Sounding like something out of an old school video-game, opener ‘Would You Be Mine’ proves a highlight. While singing of a world that is going down the pan, vocalist Olly Knights simply wants to know “would you be mine?”.
Unlike much of the project there are striking and humorous lyrics to be found within the track.
In the album’s closest moment to political comment, singer Knights pronounces “now we let the loonies run the show, great White apes with nuclear codes.”
Unfortunately, in showcasing early success, the leadoff number serves to underpin the weakness of the rest of the work. Though not perfect in its own right, ‘Would You Be Mine’ demonstrates qualities that the rest of the album either lacks, or that it cannot match.
Elsewhere, lyrics come off cheesy or oddly out of place for the songs they are in. In one such moment, Knights sings “pray to God or tuck your tie if you like, we don’t know much about this life”.
It’s as if ‘Don’t Know Much’ is trying to say ‘Who cares about the big questions? Just go with the flow’. Instead, it’s not quite clear whether the track is trying to be funny, profound or something in between.
There’s more quirkiness to be had on the atmospheric ‘Deep Sea Diver’. The singer slowly in tones, “people pass by like busboys…”. Rather than the listener taking pleasure in an interesting way of looking at things, they instead have to wonder what did he just say? The Americanism, yanks the listener out of the moment. This is a surprising misstep given the song sounds steeped in Americana.
Sentiments like “to get to easy you got to go through hard, all that you could be is in your heart”, are also on garish display, courtesy of ‘Always..’.
Despite the album’s flaws there are redeeming qualities. ‘Life Forms’, puts our existence in a universal perspective, complete with some rocking guitar work. The title track also takes an emotive, if a tad depressing, look at our everyday struggles.
With strong lead vocals, enjoyable musicianship, and tried and trusted ideas along the way, Invisible Storm is not a write-off. Unfortunately though, in spite of a try hard attitude within the project, Turin Brakes fail to capture the listener’s imagination.