on life, music etc beyond mainstream

2013 12 Jun

„Turbines“ for your pleasure

von: Manafonistas Filed under: Blog | TB | 2 Comments

This entry was posted on Mittwoch, 12. Juni 2013 and is filed under "Blog". You can follow any responses to this entry with RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.


  1. Michael Engelbrecht:

    I’m of the opinion that slow-burning careers are the way to go. The reason there seems never to have been any real pressure on Tunng is that the band have never really invited it. They’ve never found themselves under either intense scrutiny or the glare of the spotlight. They’ve always been on the verge of a breakthrough, but never quite made it, despite seeming to get better with every album they put out. When I heard news of their return with Turbines, my first reaction was, ‚oh, they’re still together?‘ I was pleasantly surprised; it could have been much worse. three years is a long time in music, after all: bands have formed and split up in less time than that. Tunng frontman Mike Lindsay went off and put out the intriguing Cheek Mountain Thief album last year, displaying a clear consistency that finally hinted at him coming into his own as a songwriter. A return to his full-band vehicle confirms that Tunng have indeed taken another step up, and the follow-up to …And Then We Saw Land finds the sextet honing their rich and spacious sound, and turning it into an impressively offbeat pop record. The band’s fifth album is as nuanced as their previous work, but the break from Tunng-related activities has helped them tap into a rich vein of creativity.

    One thing about Tunng is that, when they aren’t in a rush, they will have little desire to express anything to the contrary, and this means that Turbines is a warm, gentle and melodic record in typical Tunng style. They haven’t changed much of anything up, just shorn some things away. The dazzling acoustic pop of ‚Bloodlines‘ is just one example of this new-found direct approach. They’ve been grouped into the ‚folktronica‘ genre in the past, but the presence of electronics on their new record establishes them as a complementary gesture rather than the driving force. Treated organs and keyboards crop up, along with loping syncopation, on ‚The Village‘; arguably the most musically accomplished moment on the album, it also features an instantly hummable melody – its choice as lead single was a no-brainer, but there’s a more immediate slant to the new songs anyway, so I daresay that the band were spoilt for choice.

    Even the intricate guitar work and tricky time signature of ‚Follow‘ are shot through with accessibility – it’s the kind of delightfully awkward pop that Tunng have come to excel at. There’s a pleasing intimacy found in some of the new material, as well – for all its layers and surprising musical twists, there’s something about the way Lindsay and co-vocalist Ashley Bates’s voices play off each other – a prime example being their partnership on the insistent ‚So Far From Here‘ – that strips everything right back to the fact that it’s six people in a room trying to creatie music with a sense of closeness to it. Each separate element of Tunng’s sound has been refined over the years, and on Turbines they sound like their most confident selves. A slow-burning album for a slow-burning career, then; however, this brush with immediacy could reap further rewards for the band. (Gareth O’Malley)

  2. Michael Engelbrecht:

    Like The Kinks Are the Village Green Preservation Society, Tunng’s fifth album is set in a fictional village – but where Ray Davies luxuriated in bucolic nostalgia, Tunng convey a landscape of vague disquiet and a cast of misfits. There’s the girl unravelled by a kiss in Bloodlines; the sweet-sour woman in Trip Trap, described in such fairytale language you wonder if she’s a witch; the truculent gang at the heart of The Village, who „don’t believe what they have sold us“. The music is shaped by the characters, with rhythm particularly affected: in The Village, percussive clicks and snapping chords power across electronic samples until the rhythm gets trapped in a loop; in Follow Follow and So Far From Here, both depicting village outsiders, guitars, keyboards and vocals are syncopated, creating an atmosphere of slipperiness and shift. It’s such a nuanced album that it can feel undemonstrative, with even the choruses lacking impact – but that, too, typifies a place where nothing is what it first seems. (The Guardian is the first review that reflects the plot of the album, its storielines)

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