It’s hard to find a more politically incorrect band than Turbonegro. Since 1989 these Norwegian punks have been raising eyebrows on a variety of topics ranging from their lyrics to their name. Actually, they wanted to name themselves “Nazipenis." Of course, they were promptly told that a name of that nature would be career suicide on a kamikaze scale, so the band decided on the name Turbonegro. Founding member Tom “Happy Tom" Seltzer once summed up the curious name choice as being “A [turbonegro is a] large, well-equipped, armed black male in a fast car, out for vengeance. We are his prophets." How awesome is that? I mean, seriously? Look past the racial tension it might breed, and you have to admit, Turbonegro is one damn fine name for a punk band. Actually, Turbonegro are a little more than just that. Their music blends elements of punk, rock, and metal, making for a unique brew of debauched musical goodness.
Over the course of their career, Turbonegro have had numerous releases (a variety of LPs, EPs, and demos spanning the band’s 1989-1999 and 2002-present career); their most recent studio album being 2005’s Party Animals
. True to traditional Turbonegro ingredients, Party Animals
features excellent instrumentation, humorous (as well as explicit lyrics), and plenty of attitude. Party Animals
could easily be the strongest release of their career, as Turbonegro push no bounds on their songwriting, their musicianship, and how much they can get past censors.
‘Intro: The Party Zone" sets the mood for the album. The sounds of a crowd cheering to a fantastic guitar solo melds into the sound of a metallic voice (a la the introduction to the classic Styx
song, “Mr. Roboto"). Curiously enough, the intro doesn’t mesh well with the following song. That’s forgivable, though, since said song happens to be “All My Friends Are Dead." One of the strongest tracks Party Animals
has to offer comes quite early. “All My Friends Are Dead" features catchy (nonsensical, but catchy) lyrics and fantastic instrumentation. One of the highlights of this song is the fantastic guitar solo. Simply excellent work; it’s nice to see punk played with a bit of technical prowess. “Blow Me (Like the Wind)" is, as you may expect, an innuendo song. Vocalist Hank Von Helvete sings:
If I gave you a turn on/
Would you raise my antenna/
If i gave you a dime/
Would you blow my paradigm/
If I gave you my candle/
Would it be too hot to handle/
If I ran for election/
Would you support my erection?
There, dear reader, you have a prime example of Turbonegro’s raw audacity. As amusing as its lyric sheet reads, “Blow Me" is actually a very catchy, very fun song. “City of Satan" is a slower song that recalls the hard rock/metal sensibilities of Turbonegro. Serious (to a point) lyrics sync well with the excellently written music. ‘City of Satan" may almost make you recall a hit or two of the 80s, especially when the excellent bridge strikes, complete with a full orchestra. “Death From Above" is the return of the simpler punk-ish Turbonegro. Lyrics about death from above (in the form of feces) mesh with the laid back approach of the music. If you can overlook the sheer stupidity of this song, you’ll find yourself singing along with every disgusting little lyric.
“Wasted Again" ups the ante with a slightly angrier attitude. Powerful music and lyrics about being wasted (what else?) keep things strong and flowing. Conversely, “High On Crime" returns the levity that Party Animals
does so well. Familiar music and a lack of lyrical hooks make this track one of Party Animal
’s low points. “If You See Kaye (Tell Her I L-O-V-E Her)" is Turbonegro’s take on the classic love song. However, with lyrics such as:
She's all I got/
I really like her a lot/
She's really hot/
I'm the I and she's the dot.
Turbonegro don’t really prove themselves to be actual romanticists. “Stay Free" is a straightforward, no-nonsense song. However, it features the more eclectic side of Turbonegro’s music. Slow and steady “Stay Free" is another one of Party Animals
“Babylon Forever" keeps up the semi-mystical turn that Party Animals
has apparently taken. It’s a tad boring and repetitive, but features some of the most well-written lyrics on the album “Hot Stuff/Hot ShI
t" showcases the return of the Turbonegro’s crude lyrical style. Meaning that it’s a funny song that’s guaranteed to bring a smile to your face. Hooky music also helps to draw you into the returning air of stupidity. Party Animals
closes with the loud, powerful, and angry “Final Warning." Apparently Turbonegro are choosing to warn us about an impending wave of crime, genocide, and destruction. Perhaps they want us to alert the authorities? Maybe they’re looking to have the U.N. “knock-knock" on their door? “Final Warning" is a fitting end to Party Animals
. I can’t imagine this album going out with a bigger bang. However, it isn’t really the end, as, after a long interlude, a dark and disturbing bit of poetry comes pouring out of the song. Hardly a hidden track, but interesting nonetheless.
In the end, if you can look past the immaturity of Turbonegro’s songwriting, constant shifts in musical style, and (occasionally) repetitive sound, you’ll find that Party Animals
is an excellent album, well-worth your time and listening effort. Just don’t try to emulate what you hear. We have enough lunatics in the world already.