Tuesday, 22 February 2011

'If things get real promise to take me somewhere else' by @diaryofaledger

Once in a while I stumble upon albums like this one.  Albums that mean so much to me, that nearly got missed altogether.  It's in my Top Ten... maybe.... 

Turin Brakes are two guys and two guitars.  Modern folk apparently, whatever that is.  What The Optimist LP is is something else entirely.  It's a collection of some of the most well spun songs I know.  The words are like honey, slowly dripping on a hot summers day.  The guitars are a joy.  As delicate, graceful and poignant as anything in my collection.

It's an album that doesn't connect to any relationship other than the one I have with myself which in itself is pretty unusual.  I think I probably got it around 2002 a few months after release and I can remember listening to it loads in the car.  Volume on 'excessive', as per usual, on hot summer days to and from work.

It begins with Feeling Oblivion, which opens with a few notes on a piano before the simple tune actually starts.      The words are all over the place, but sit with in the song perfectly.  That last chorus preceded by the haunting, 'So don't leave me here on my own.'

Underdog (Save Me) is about running away from everything.  It nearly inspired me to get off my arse and go see the world again.  There's a 'great little' guitar solo in it too.  

The album is full of 'great little' songs, all warm and lush but my favourite comes towards the end.  Mind Over Money has one of the best 'join in and burst your lungs' choruses I know.  It's sort of anthem like without actually being an anthem.
That's alright I warned myself,
Keep blood on the inside and nowhere else
An album for warm summer nights for sure.  Beach parties? Yes.  But there's so much depth there within the light.  There's a bleakness that sort of sat nicely with turning thirty soon after the turn of century (2003 fact fans), it is the sound of age catching up with me.  Over ten years later and I still love the album.  It can still make me smile and it still feels like a well kept secret.  Which sometimes still feels like it means something.

The vocals throughout take you away to somewhere else and although sometimes slightly awkward and not compromised to fit the tunes, the harmonies are quietly pretty as each song places you in a different part of your world.  I can imagine sitting and listening to it with someone pretty (maybe I have on occasion) but equally it works as dark room and headphones album.  Just be careful with the singing along when you try that... sorry neighbours, I really should have closed the window.

Do you not have The Optimist LP by Turin Brakes?  No?  Fool. 

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