Review Summary: Where imitation becomes inspiration.
Turnstile are one of those bands that wear their influences proudly on their sleeves, but have essentially been held captive by their idols. It’s impossible to hear the singer’s aggressive yells and not catch the Zach De La Rocha worship. There’s snare-heavy drum work that sounds cut straight from mid-90’s crossover hardcore, call and response gang vocals, stop-start guitar rhythms – pretty much everything you’d expect to find in a tribute band clutching at the past of a genre that has long since forsaken its roots. Restricting themselves within the bounds of ground already covered by their heroes, they released two EPs that were very well received, but brought absolutely nothing new to the table. Thankfully, Nonstop Feeling
sees Turnstile breaking away from the pile of forgotten imitation artists and finding inspiration; forging their own personality without forgetting the sound that got them where they are today.
This wasn’t immediately evident in the first 2 tracks released from the album however. Opener ‘Gravity’ and lead single ‘Drop’ show growing pains with clunky transitions and unnecessary repetition, and while they certainly maintain the foot-stomping, heart-pounding intensity of their EPs, they also fall prey to the same lack of individuality. Maybe the band simply intended to put something in here for the fans of old to gobble up - growing pains will always be evident when a band is struggling to find its feet, but the album really kicks into gear with the third track and rarely lets up from there, careening through its various twists and turns with admirable finesse. There are heavy metallic riffs, galloping bass guitar lines, surf rock segments, dreamy clean vocals and morose instrumental work all co-existing closely together, and somehow, it just works. It’s an amalgam of styles that shouldn’t gel together, but the band members pour so much energy and passion into their work that it feels coherent and purposeful. An honourable mention should also be awarded to the production team, who have managed to polish the mix to perfection while keeping a raw 90’s hardcore aesthetic that keeps the music honest. While much of the music was clearly built with performance in mind, all of these seemingly small elements have a huge part to play in Nonstop Feeling
succeeding as an LP, separate from the stage.
It’s important to put critical examination aside every now and then, and I confess, I haven’t found hardcore this fun in a long while. As time passed, genre stalwarts moved towards the bluer end of the spectrum, pushing for emotional lyrics and diversity and forgetting to just have fun
every now and then. Sure, there’s still some downtrodden parts in Nonstop Feeling
, but there’s this overarching sense of satisfaction emanating from the band in what they’ve accomplished here that helps carry momentum through its runtime, and is a large part of what makes the album so addictive. In a scene that has become homogeneous to the point of indistinguishability, it’s refreshing to have a band catchy and infectious enough to keep ringing in your ears long after you’ve turned the album off. Putting aside diversity and instrumental skill, Turnstile place the listener’s enjoyment on a pedestal above all else – something I didn’t realise I was missing until I heard Nonstop Feeling
for the first time.