Abandoning the alt-rock/post-punk flirtations of 2007's Dark on Fire, Turin Brakes return to their indie folk roots on 2010's Outbursts. While the experiment with a more edgy, rock-oriented sound worked well for the British duo, singer/songwriters Olly Knights and Gale Paridjanian are obviously most at home with their comfortable brand of melodic folk-inflected pop, and that is the sound that makes up most of the tracks on Outbursts. These are inward-looking tunes with deeply searching, poetic lyrics and melodies that stick in your ear. In that sense, songs like the midtempo ballad "Paper Heart" with its poetic lyrics ("I live by the sea/Not the one your thinking, the sea inside of me") bring to mind the expansive and heartfelt '70s soft rock of Bread. Similarly, the forceful opening cut "Sea Change" and the anthemic "Will Power" mix personal and political messages ("One thousand backs against the wall, now do we walk or run?") that build to seriously cathartic pop moments. Elsewhere, the uplifting "Rocket Boy" and the rambling "Embryos" mix folky acoustic guitars, a tasteful amount of keyboards, and even some orchestral bits to make for superbly climatic, cinematic rock.
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AllMusic Review by Matt Collar