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TURIN BRAKES
JACKINABOX
BY MATTHEW SHAER

In 2001, on the strength of their sad, haunting The Optimist LP (Astralwerks), Turin Brakes garnered critical acclaim in Great Britain for helping to spearhead the so-called "New Acoustic Movement," a clunky moniker for artists as diverse as David Gray and Badly Drawn Boy. Stateside, the disc and its 2003 follow-up, Ether Song, barely made a noise. Now, after a guest slot on an OC soundtrack, Olly Knights and Gale Paridjanian seem poised to make inroads in the US with their acoustic-guitar-driven lullabies. "Fishing for the Dream" and "They Canít Buy the Sunshine" name-drop LA, and they couple the acoustics with beats borrowed from the G. Love playbook. In other words, Jackinabox is Turin Brakesí most Americanized album. Also their worst. The duoís lyrics had been complex, concise, and occasionally downright confrontational. Optimistís "72" dealt with the emotional side effects the so-called emergency contraception pill might have on a relationship; "Underdog" described a panicked flight from the scene of a potential suicide. The new Turin Brakes sing about lost fame as well as sand, sunshine, and babes. "Above the Clouds," an airy love song with intelligent, emotive lyrics, is the one exception.


Issue Date: August 26 - September 1, 2005
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