Big Gig: Turin Brakes
Neill Barston – Wednesday, October 19, 2005 (from Kent Online)
THE last time acoustic troubadours Turin Brakes visited Kent at the Folkestone Leas Cliff Hall, their appearance proved to be pretty memorable.
“I remember that gig as when we had finished I went outside and saw that someone had written the word eternity in ice on the grass. It must have been an advert, I had my camera with me and I filmed it. There was no-one else around which was quite strange,” recalled Gale, one half of the Mercury Prize nominated rock duo.
On the back of successful dates in Europe they are setting off on a fresh UK tour which sees them call close to Kent, with a gig at the Brighton Dome.
Following critical acclaim for their latest album, Jack In the Box, the lads appear to be on a high and welcoming their latest road-trip.
As the amiable guitarist confessed, they have learnt to strike the right balance having a good time on the road and being in top shape for their gigs.
“We’ll be doing this tour in a slightly different way. For the last couple of years we have been doing a rock show, but this will be with the full band, just unplugged which has injected some added enthusiasm into us.”
This vibrancy has been reflected in their latest LP, which was recorded deep within the bowels of their Brixton studio, yet sounds as if it was put together on a beach in California – such is its laid-back feel.
“The world is in such a mess right now, we just wanted to make a record that you could just sit down for a while and enjoy,” he explained of its optimistic outlook.
There are many reasons for them to be cheerful, not least the fact they have now clocked up an impressive tally of more than 500,000 record sales around the world.
They may not be the most flashy or indeed high-profile outfit, but it is their brilliant melodies have won them myriad fans.
“It doesn’t matter what anyone says about us, we can say there is a small army of people out there who have bought our records.”
Both Gale and childhood pal Ollie began getting into music at an early age. There can be few youngsters growing up in the 1980s who failed to be impressed by Back To The Future and it was its raw rock-and-roll soundtrack which got them into guitars.
This, and being shown the music of the late, great Chuck Berry which first sparked their interest.
“We started playing when we were about nine and just used to muck about a lot with the guitars, but they stayed around the house and took them up again when we were teenagers.”
When Ollie began developing his lyrical ability they thought more seriously about a musical career. Though both had played in bands, they felt that braving it as an acoustic duo would give them more control over the music.
Their talent did not go un-noticed long and they were snapped up by French independent label, Source. The pair’s first album was duly nominated for the Mercury Prize in 2001.
“That was great, we just thought, all we have to do is make an album and it will get nominated. We’ve since realised it’s a bit more difficult than that!”
The pair can hardly have been accused of being workshy in their career to date.
To their credit, they seem to have resisted the temptation to become too wrapped up in themselves as the plaudits have come their way. While they may be ordinary souls, their music has been anything but and continues to grow in strength.
“I feel we have been lucky and we’ve achieved three times more than we ever hoped that we would,” adds Gale with a sense of pride in the band’s memorable music.
* Turin Brakes play the Brighton Dome on Monday, October 31 (box office 01273 709709) and the London Palladium on Sunday, November 6 (box office 0207 656 1800).