turin brakes – live review

Clash Music

It has been ten years since Turin Brakes released the Mercury nominated ‘Optimist LP’. 

The raw, stripped back record has turned out to be Ollie Knights’ and Gale Paridjanian’s crowning achievement so far. The duo have arguably failed to better it over the last decade, with only 2003’s ‘Ether Song’ showing speckles of the brilliance that ran throughout their debut.

To celebrate the anniversary, Turin Brakes have headed back out on the road to play the album in its entirety, and as they walk onto the Leadmill’s stage Paridjanian says: “We’re going to do it like the record, so just relax like you’re listening to it in your front room.”

‘Feeling Oblivion’ is as subtly brilliant as ever and while ‘Underdog (Save Me)’ remains as fresh as it did in 2001, something isn’t quite right. Knights’ prodigious vocals are some of the best around but they don’t wrap around his counterpart’s in the seamless way they usually deliver. And a mistimed moment provokes a more freestyle guitar solo from Paridjinan.

There’s nothing wrong with ‘Emergency 72’ and ‘Future Boy’ – they sail through them with ease, it’s just a bit lacklustre. ‘State Of Things’ brings life to their so far diluted set but ‘Slack’ is all top, sloppy and out of key - it’s clear at this point that they’re being dogged by sound issues but this is far from Turin Brakes at their most slick.

“Do you feel like you’re in your front room yet?” Says Paridjanian before set highlight ‘Mind Over Money’. The penultimate album track over-shadows anything that has come before and the band begin to find their flow, with Knights’ vocals becoming more incandescent as the night goes on.

They return for a five song encore and debut a new, nameless open road chug before following with the predictably requested ‘Painkiller’. All of a sudden the band have come alive and ‘the best of the rest’ encore energises them in a way the main set failed to. 

‘Fishing For A Dream’ sees their melodies intertwine effortlessly and ‘Rain City’ sets up the emphatic gig closer ‘Sea Change’.

‘The Optimist LP’ may have been one of 2001’s seminal albums but tonight, Turin Brakes are a mixed bag.