Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Turin Brakes - The Optimist LP


Sometimes my husband and I differ on things.  No, really!  And one of these things is kind of good for me, but it also annoys me.  You see, while to most people my music collection (before YourZ) seemed wide and varied, his was and is truly huge.  A large part of that is because... how do I put this nicely... he sometimes has a bit of a short attention span.

Which means sometimes he doesn't want to play the old faithful numbers.  There's this new band or artist he's bought, and he knows I'll really love it, and the annoying thing is he's usually right, but then sometimes I think he just doesn't get the fact that some days I want to listen to the album I know I'm going to love.

Which is The Optimist.  Top to tail, beginning to end, beautiful, layered, brilliantly produced, those edgy yet sweet voices, this album is one our collection will never be without.  It's the album I want to play on this first night we move into our new home, up on a hill in a tropical town in Queensland, looking out over the dark and lush vegetation with the lights twinkling in the distance.  It's yet another album I have to thank YourZ for... and for that reason I can never be too annoyed with him when he wants me to listen to something new.



This is one of Mine's choices but if she hadn't chosen it, I would have (in fact, I deliberately left it from my five because I knew she would end up picking it).  (Mine says: well aren't you the clever clogs then!)  I don't have any fancy story about how I came to hear Turin Brakes.  But every so often, a piece of music comes into your life that is so clearly meant for you, it is a wonder it isn't simply gift-wrapped with your name on it.  Turin Brakes, for me, is one such band.

Some years ago now, musical friends and I would regularly gather in the back room of a house I shared with an ex-girlfriend (hi Maz).  This room was off the kitchen, so close to all the things a bunch of musicians would need: a kettle, coffee and tea fixings and a fridge for alcohol.  We'd start with rounds of coffee and cigarettes, warming up our fingers on tunes we all knew.  I'd set up a few microphones and maybe get the recording equipment ready to make a rough of the proceedings.  We'd move on to beer or vodka as the day wore one, getting looser and louder and having a ball.   

Lots of music inspired us then.  Some of the names you'd recognise (David Bowie, Beck, Jeff Buckley, Led Zeppelin) and some were new to most of us.  Turin Brakes, and The Optimist LP particularly, were one such band.  Their acoustic-driven, harmony-laden tracks had us singing along at the tops of our voices, long after we'd put down our instruments and started on the second case of beer.  And while we never went much further than that room, we were the best band in the world for a little while there.


For further information go to http://www.turinbrakes.com/


  1. Absolutely fantastic music! Completely timeless and even now I don't get bored of listening to this album. I have been a fan of Turin Brakes since their inception. I first discovered them when they supported the Stereophonics and they were handing out cassette tapes outside the venue with a few tracks (yes cassette tapes!!)

    The music which Turin Brakes continue to deliver so brilliantly is a pure inspiration to me on a personal level yet also as an artist. Turin Brakes have inspired me to write my own music which I continue to do so to this day.

    These guys are the most underrated artists I have ever known...keep going strong TB! x

  2. We've got a few of their albums in our collection, but this one is the one we continue to go back to time and again. A shining example of truly great music.