Tunng - Turbines

An album as cohesive and accessible as any they’ve previously released.

Label: Full Time Hobby

Rating: 7

For ten years and four albums before the release of ‘Turbines’, Tunng have been ploughing their own furrow, augmenting their acoustic melodies with samples and electronics, gradually sanding down the jagged edges from the electronic side of their output. In the three years since their last full length, ‘…And Then We Saw Land’, frontman Mike Lindsay has upped sticks and moved to the isolated Icelandic town of Husavik, recording the Cheek Mountain Thief album with local musicians. Absence appears to have made the heart grow fonder though and the band have returned with an album as cohesive and accessible as any they’ve previously released.

The synthetic element of the band’s sound, while used increasingly sparingly, is employed here more effectively than on previous efforts, seeming more a part of the mix and helping the instrumentation come to full bloom, as on album highlight, and first single from the album, ‘The Village’. The band themselves have called ‘Turbines’ their ‘sci-fi folk-rock’ album and, while the ‘rock’ part of the label may be a bit of a stretch, there’s certainly something other-worldly about the space in which the band operate, not least on album closer ‘Heavy Rock Warning’, a subdued, ethereal slow-burning number that sounds as though it’s being transmitted from somewhere in the earth’s orbit.

Amid the dextrous fingerpicking of the gorgeous ‘Bloodlines’, Lindsay sings of being “warmly kissed on the hand and the cheek” and, to be honest, it’s hard to find a better analogy for the experience of listening to ‘Turbines’. Throughout the album, Lindsay’s vocals blend and switch with Becky Jacobs’, lending a richness and warmth to the delivery. It’s reassuring to note that, now five albums in, Tunng continue to distill and refine their sound, honing their craft to create their most accomplished album yet.