Turin Brakes, which played at the Rams Head on Monday night, is assembled from many parts -- most of them of a 1970s vintage. The group's opener, "They Can't Buy the Sunshine," was a mellow anthem reminiscent of "Baker Street" -- though the saxophone of the Gerry Rafferty hit had been swapped for some ominous lyrics ("They're buying up souls to fill their holes"). "Fishing for a Dream," which followed, bore an unpromising resemblance to "Dust in the Wind" but with more emotional complexity. It's hard to tell whether the "celebrity parties" and "red carpet mile" sung about with such winning languor by Olly Knights would really bring him as much simple pleasure as the song itself ultimately evoked.
But with a third number, "Mind Over Money," the London-based duo of Knights and Gale Paridjanian, and their backing band, finally shook off easy comparisons. Opening with funereal piano chords that shifted gracefully into Knights's falsetto crooning "Light up my life like a very last cigarette," the song gradually built into a sort of soul-grunge fusion with cool elegance underneath. Then, like a heart stopping, all was suddenly still.
The concert's potential was sometimes squelched by audio problems, including some dog-scaring feedback that may or may not have been intentional.
-- Pamela Murray Winters