Review Summary: Magnolia awakens the dormant emo kid in Turnover.
The most unusual thing about Virginia Beach pop-punk outfit Turnover is how quickly they’ve developed a sweet spot in their sound. On the band’s debut full-length Magnolia, Turnover have trimmed the fat in the previous incarnation of their sound with near-perfect accuracy. Gone is the grating vocal style and homogenized pop-punk formula present on their self-titled EP, and in its place is more of the band’s subdued and darker side. That’s not to say the former elements were ever bad, it’s just that Turnover have realized they bring something new and exciting into a scene where a lot of bands simply reiterate on what’s already been done, and they choose to expand on that with Magnolia.
With the band on the cusp of their ever-expanding popularity since their split 7” with Citizen, it was a bold move for Turnover to make the stylistic change present on Magnolia. The darker, 90’s emo-inspired vibe is undoubtedly due in part to Turnover’s choice of appointing Will Yip as producer, who’s recent work has included Title Fight’s Floral Green. However, after listening to standout tracks like “Shiver” and “Hollow,” it is clear that Yip brought out the latent emo kid in Turnover rather than force the style upon the band. The way Turnover blends that influence with their pop-punk roots is seamless and intuitive in a scene populated with many one-dimensional bands.
Albeit the new sound, detailed and intelligent songwriting is what truly sets Magnolia apart from other pop punk releases this year. The way the band plays with tempos in “Shiver” and the fantastic guitar work in “To The Bottom” are perfect examples of how Turnover have, instead of simply letting the vocals carry the songs, made sure the songwriting is always in perfect accompaniment with the vocals. And with such an emphasis on the darker, borderline 90’s emo atmosphere, the vocals and lyrics are just as important as the songwriting. Some of the best material Magnolia has to offer is also the material with the most impacting and well-written lyrics. “Like a Whisper” is packed with the aforementioned, with the line “Nothing you could ever say is loud enough to resonate” summing up the theme of the song quite well. “Wither” uses the simplicity of its lyrics such as “Everyone leaves and everything dies” to great effect because of its indisputable honesty and intentional repetition.
It may seem at first like Turnover have taken a huge risk with releasing Magnolia as their debut album, being as it’s a big step in a new direction for the band. However after a careful listen, it is clear that this was the music they had inside them all along. With the help of producer Will Yip and careful attention to detail and quality, Magnolia succeeds in every facet of a debut record. A “safer” record may have insured a steady increase to their growing fanbase, but Magnolia may very well see Turnover gain much more than that.