It's a kind of Desert Island Discs for the hip, with anecdotal sleeve-note...
Lucy Davies 2003
Whoa Music is a quiet record label, whose soul aim is to introduce people to the music that influences today's musicians. I imagine it's quite an honour, and a challenge, to be chosen to come up with a compilation that will critically impress all. It's a kind of Desert Island Discs for the hip, with anecdotal sleeve-note explanations from the compilers for each track.
The common suggestion is that you enjoy these compilations after dark, post-pub, in the front room with a group of friends, and the beauty is that no-one needs to get up to change the stereo.
Turin Brakes' compilation is no exception, and its piece de resistance is the final track: a cover from the Turin Brakes lads of the Rolling Stones' "Moonlight Mile".
Whilst the trend of previous Late-Night Talescompilations appeared to be distinctly funky, Turin Brakes take us in another direction: Blues.
The CD opens with Nicolai Dunger's "Last Night I Dreamt of Mississippi", and immediately the influence on the Turin Brakes sound becomes apparent. This is followed by John Barry's "Midnight Cowboy". As outlined in the sleeve notes, "It has an immediate and reflective effect that always made me...stare into the distance, as if pining the Wild West... and that's even if you don't know the film".Quite. The sloping harmonica sounding out the clip clopping of a tired old mare sets the scene for the following tracks - calm, which often spills over into sadness.
Dave Palmer's "Speed Trials" is a piece for solo piano, simple and naïve, written by the pianist that worked with the Brakes on the optimist LP.
To break up the Blues flavour, they throw in Les Barons featuring Henri Gaobi, with "Lagos Soundsystem". Armed with trumpets and congas,they keep things up-tempo, but this is an exception to the rule, and melancholy prevails.
All in all, this is a more than a simple compilation to listen to after hours. It allows the listener to absorb the influences of the band, and it's an education in the story of blues. But, please listen to it with friends, rather than alone: there's a risk that you could go down the blues trail, never to return.