Turbines is the fifth album from London’s Tunng, and the first I’ve heard. When I put the album on I had no idea what to expect. The cover art has a kaleidoscopic pattern, and neither band name nor album titled offered any clues either. This is fine by me, surprises can be fun! And, as it turns out, I don’t think I was expecting what I got — a mellow, electronic sound with vocals not too far removed from Stuart Murdoch (though sans Scottish accent).
Though, it’s not all electronics — “Trip Trap”, the second track, features what sounds like a synth bass, but a clearly acoustic shaker. The combination of electric sounds with odd live instrumentation meshes perfectly and feels like it’s all part of the whole without being flashy. Soundscapes rather than mere clever-dickery.
If there’s a flaw with Turbines, it’s that the album is all of a similar tempo and kind of feels a little samey. “Follow” is probably the most driving track, but it’s still pretty much mid-tempo. Still, each individual track is good, so it’s not a problem of having too much — the album could be improved by adding to it — slotting in one or two tracks that are ravers would do wonders. Of course, as it goes “all the tracks are good, if kind of samey” isn’t the worst problem to have.
Turbines seems to be a pretty good introduction to Tunng. I’d be interested in checking out more — which is easy since they’ve got four other records (and a live album)! If you’re in the mood for something that’s mellow but plays a lot with textured sounds, check out Turbines.