Turin Brakes The Optimist

With this big so-called "new acoustic movement" going on in the UK, there are a handful of acts trying to make it without vanishing into nothingness. Among the frontrunners, Turin Brakes is probably the shining star of the bunch. Formed after allegedly being thrown out of a church choir, the duo of Olly Knights and Gale Paridjanian formed the band, who sound so much bigger than a simple duo. Signed to the French-based Source Records (known for groovier acts like Daft Punk, Air and Phoenix), the band's debut album, The Optimist, sounds anything but optimistic, but when you have Radiohead writing tunes with that title, you know that the book is not always like the cover. As a duo, Knights's voice is the key instrument in making the band not just another Jeff Buckley/Nick Drake tribute act. To put it simply, Knights' voice is way out in leftfield. There hasn't been a voice like this since the man himself, Jeff Buckley, released Grace. Songs like "Save Me" and "The Door" allow Knights to dazzle with a pop vocal performance, while on the album's closing and title track, his voice accompanies Paridjanian's guitar more as an instrument. TB makes music that screws with your mental state, with the ability to have you crying, smiling and daydreaming all in the blink of an eye. (Independent)