TURNSTILE- ‘Time & Space’
If you thought the news of Turnstile’s leap to a major label was a curveball, you ain’t heard nothing yet. The Baltimore outfit’s second record features lounge jazz licks, rippling blips of R&B, vocals from a former Lauryn Hill backing singer, and “added production” by Diplo of all people. I guess that’s what you can buy with Nickelback money! Now, that doesn’t necessarily mean any of this is done for the sake of doing- rarely do these new facets feel frivolous. It’s just not often they make complete sense either. Instead, they are mostly sonic confetti sprinkled over the band’s tried-and-tested hardcore punk.
Swaggering opener, ‘Real Thing’, somehow marries the seesaw sound of grunge with the head-nodding beats of East Coast hip-hop and isn’t a complete mess. The middle of ‘Big Smile’ sounds like a 90s TV theme that you’ve definitely heard before, in the best possible way. And if the hazy ‘Moon’ is released as a single this summer, Roadrunner could be quids in after all. There’s a restless but not breathless drive throughout- the bass high in the mix, simple, effective riffs queuing up to get to your brainstem. Even if no specific song reaches out and grabs you, there’s a chance you get carried away on the back of the guileless, grin-faced groove of it all anyway.
This thing is a high-speed surge of spirit energy then, but there’s a feeling that it could have been even bigger, even bolder, even more powerful, if it had really, truly immersed itself in experimentation and adventure. In the end the biggest takeaway from ‘Time & Space’ (a record which indulges in neither of those things) isn’t any sense of evolution, but just how adept Turnstile have become at repackaging the pioneering sneers of more traditional genre stalwarts into hyper-modern digestible chunks. Whether that means this is an album that breaks punk all over again, or is better remembered as Dog Eat Dog for zoomers, remains to be seen.