Turin Brakes' third release blends the lighthearted escapism of their debut and the slickly produced escapism of their sophomore release for a satisfying, tambourine-slapping good time. Acoustic guitars are still the thing and Ollie Knights' voice is still a cross between Jeff Buckley and early David Bowie, but the songwriting has improved drastically. Knights and his duo partner, Gale Paridjanian, have never been considered the greatest lyricists, and while the somewhat improved prose on Jackinabox won't change that, the arrangements are much tighter than ever and cover up whatever lyrical deficiencies the charismatic, freewheeling attitude of the band doesn't. When they offer upbeat, infectious, neo-hippie numbers like the funky "Asleep With the Fireflies" (Jamiroquai for the acoustic set) or "Over and Over" (a playful, nearly cabaret song), the album excels and fits summery afternoons like a glove. The wistful ballads are more hit or miss, the widescreen "Road to Nowhere" being an example of direct hit with the meandering "Forever" being a tedious miss that feels totally out of place. Sliding guitars, xylophones, and electronic touches flush out the sound, and the duo's complete involvement with the recording -- producing, engineering, etc. -- gives it a comfortable, "at home" feel. Fans won't be disappointed in the least, and with so much growth displayed, they should probably make room for converts.
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AllMusic Review by David Jeffries