Superb vocal harmonies, acoustic guitars and driving piano beats form the backbone of...
Dan Tallis 2003
Turin Brakes' second album follows on from their excellent debut, The Optimist LP, with twelve beautifully crafted songs. It's a great album that doesn't stray too far from its predecessor. However, the occasional appearance of the electric guitar shows that the band are deviating from their acoustic roots.
Ether Song starts slowly with the opening tracks not really registering on the radar, but then "Long Distance" grabs you. It's the finest track the band have written; drums, guitars and the piano all rise together euphorically before calmly falling back down to earth. It sets you up for the rest of the album, which is full of sublime and soothing love songs.
Next track, "Self Help", maintains the high quality. It gently rolls along, softly swaying from side to side with plenty of "oohs" and "aaahs". On "Clear Blue Air" lead singer OllieKnights sings simple but moving expressions of love; "I need you like water..."
The band have spent some time assessing their lot since the success of their debut album. "Have another drink...it's time you realised you're just an average man" sings Knights. "Self Help" affirms his image as a 'talented musician' rather than an 'arrogant pop star' with his lyric; "Remind myself that I'm not just in it for the money..."
Superb vocal harmonies, acoustic guitars and driving piano beats form the backbone of the Turin Brakes sound. It's a great combination and can be heard in full effect on recent single "Pain Killer" and "Rain City".
The one disappointment is that Ether Song doesn't quite go far enough. A couple of tracks meander aimlessly so that by the end of the album I'm left with the feeling that the band didn't quite know which direction to take. However, there are enough great tracks here to prove that they are still experts at making beautiful, melancholic music.
P.S. There's a rare treat at the end of this album, a secret track that's actually worth finding. Rather than the usual chaotic collection of sounds, here we get a little gem of a song.