Mick Turner – Don’t Tell the Driver (2013)

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With Don’t Tell the Driver, Mick Turner presents a vocal and instrumental song cycle focusing on loss and the passage of time.

Together with Jim White and Warren Ellis as the Australian cult band Dirty Three, he has contributed to 10 albums since their debut Sad And Dangerous. Along the way, the Dirty Three has become one of the most important and still-influential bands in the instrumental rock genre. Don’t Tell the Driver is Turner’s fifth solo album since 1997. In addition to his music, Turner is also known as a great painter and visual artist, and creates the artwork for his own album covers.

He is supported here by singer Caroline Kennedy-McCracken and the Australian baritone Oliver Mann. As a band, Turner has also brought together three alternate-playing drummers in Ian Wadley, Kishore Ryan and Jeff Wegener, as well as bassist Peggy Frew.

They open the album with “All Gone,” a track boasting tacit melodies that gradually merge with easily plucked chords. Throughout, Turner’s unique guitar style is present, as always. The song “Sometimes” is centered on guitar and melodica, but when the voice of Kennedy-McCracken kicks in, it’s almost like a duet of lovers in the truest sense. The title song is loaded with shuffling drums, reveling bass lines, and Turner’s guitar — which merges with the piano as if they were one instrument.

“The Navigator” is touched with light jazz and carried by a trumpet, while the harmonic foundation is built on piano, cello and guitar. “Long Way Home” sounds like the band is ripping the tune apart, just to reassemble it again. “The Last Song” is built up from a melodic start, ending in a near complete cacophony — but in Mick Turner’s world even cacophony sounds amazing.

He successfully creates a convergence of harmonic and disharmonic sounds, which reflects the intricacies of a world of complex feelings. A sinister force radiates the album, despite the many lighter moments.

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Mike Dostert

Mike Dostert

Luxembourg resident Mike Dostert has written about music for more than two decades, with work appearing in a local newspaper, via his own independent music magazine and at the web sites www.music-brain.com and lux-culture.jimdo.com. He has also worked for 20 years as a DJ and radio host. Contact Something Else! at reviews@somethingelsereviews.com.
Mike Dostert
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