By: John Price
Want one more reason to follow, listen to and endorse local music? The Turbos are making rich, resonant modern rock that draws from past influences, adds its own spin and does so seamlessly without sounding like the band is imitating anyone or trying to resurrect an archaic sound. And The Turbos is doing it all in your backyard.
The Turbos’ new release, “Alternator,” serves its audience very well. Bouncing through an engaging palette of pop-rock songs whose lyrical imagery is consistently sharp. Deft phrasing and soaring vocal performances connect without feeling like such a connection was forced or calculated. Sonically this four-piece delivers a breadth of honed guitar-driven dynamism that is refreshingly anchored to intelligent, melodic hooks. Listeners can either sing along to or lyrically deconstruct to find the songs’ hidden messages.
Unlike almost all bands not called Oasis, The Turbos trade off singing duties between two members. Alex D (an In the Record Store contributor) leads off with the opening anthemic track “Circles,” in probably the most epic of the album’s offerings. His voice has a delivery similar to that of TV on the Radio’s Tunde Adebimpe, effortlessly switching gears from reflective smooth verses to gravely punching choruses throughout “Fine China,” “Bullet 2 Chew” and “Van Gogh.”
However, lest the listener’s attention start to wane, the group’s second guitarist/vocalist gets tagged in and periodically takes the mic throughout the 7-track album. Lucas Esterline’s slightly smokier but equally soaring vocal performances provide catchy counterpoints on “Sleeper,” “Don’t You Worry” and “Tall Trees.”
Throughout “Alternator,” The Turbos’ guitars shift from dark bluesy hues (“Fine China”) to grungy, Seattle-sounding distorted tones (“Van Gogh”). The balance maintained between Alex D’s and Esterline’s guitars ensures that the listener is treated to two very capable and well-schooled six-stringers. The tracks’ collection of builds, crescendos and drops are all supported by the guitars that sound rich and full without being overwhelming.
Meanwhile, the bass performance by Cam Reck provides interesting lines that also humbly serve the song. Instead of shamelessly shredding and selfishly grabbing the aural spotlight, his skillset remains locked in the gear of the song—using his excellent range of tones to scorch, seize, sway and sucker-punch the listener as the song’s mood dictates. Fill-in drummer Matt Love should feel pride in his performance, as its effect is similarly surefooted and certainly suffices for the rest of the band.
While the project is not without its flaws, they are very few and far between (drum levels and an occasional pitchy emotive vocal) and should not prevent the listener from enjoying the album in full.
Writing and performing melodic rock music is an art and skill, especially while incorporating a breadth of modern influences such as Kings of Leon, The Killers, Interpol and Incubus as The Turbos have done with “Alternator.” This album’s sound, diversity and dynamics are delivered by a group whose talent is matched by its ambition.
Check our The Turbos website here and make sure to keep up on forthcoming shows by visiting its Facebook page. The Turbos will be playing a free show at 9 p.m. on Saturday, May 26 at Lucky’s Grille and Sports Bar in Marysville.