Review Summary: If feeling is what they want - OH YEAH - then feeling is what they get.
Turnstile are the talk of the town when it comes to Hardcore punk at the moment. With ties to genre heavyweights Trapped Under Ice, being both Brendan Yates' side project, as well as being former label mates on the independent outfit Pop Wig, the band certainly has the pedigree to be producing some of the genre's best work. This most recent project, Time and Space
, their first for Roadrunner Records, sees the Maryland band build on their trademark 90s throwback Hardcore sound, developing the stripped back machismo of earlier work to add complexity, variety, melody and experimentation. Often described as the bastard child of Rage Against the Machine's raspy vocal attack and infectious grooves, with an instrumental approach more akin to titans of yesteryear, Snapcase, Turnstile have learnt to bend the boundaries of Hardcore, producing one of the most distinct and unique punk albums of recent years.
For those fearing such experimentation and diversity might have tainted Turnstile's very much moshable sound, fear not: this album packs it's fair share of meaty punches. From the frenetic outburst of rage on 'Big Smile', to the brooding, building stomp of 'I Don't Wanna Be Blind' that screams of a more developed version of 'Out of Rage' from their previous record, there are plenty of adrenaline-pumping moments dotted across this tracklisting. One thing to note, especially about the latter of those two tracks, is the presence of melody across this LP. Songs such as 'Moon', featuring Sheer Mag's Tina Halliday providing backing for Franz Lyon's buttery smooth vocal melodies really showcase Turnstile's ability to not only turn a venue into a writhing mass of aggression, but craft a catchy hook and hold up a tune. These harmonic interludes in the album's frankly rampant tracklisting really make this record stand out; from the brooding introduction to 'I Don't Wanna Be Blind' to the tension and melodic inclination on 'Can't Get Away', the variety present here that sticks within Turnstile's groovy trademark sound is simply excellent, never letting an idea get too tired before it receives some form of variation or reinvention.
The latter half of the album continues the strengths of the opening; the combination of 'Come Back for More' and 'Harder on You' from their previous Move Thru Me
EP provides a riotous d-beat flurry of energy before dropping back into a swaggering final passage, really maintaining the energy and progression of the record. The following track, 'Right to Be', features probably the best riff on the album, backed by a steady drum pattern in a joyously fun combination of stomp and groove. Really, the best way to describe this record is, put simply; fun. It's hard really to articulate it in any other way; from the Angel Du$t-esque title track's bouncy guitar motif, to the riotous guitar solo on 'Generator', bizarrely backed by hand-claps, the band never really seem to be taking themselves too seriously, and that's possibly why this album is so addictively entertaining.
For Turnstile, this is a little bit of a departure. It's less a modern hardcore album, embracing more elements of straight up punk and retro-hardcore, most notably in the use of d-beat drumming on '(Lost Another) Piece of My Mind', or some alt-rock stylings on 'High Pressure' or 'Generator'. It even sees the use of electronics, most notably on the delectably smooth interludes of 'Bomb' and 'Disco', which bizarrely for Turnstile sound almost like distorted elevator music, but somehow perfectly fit the tone of the album; one of a collision of punk fury and more psychedelic, 80s/90s-esque elements. What's remarkable then, is that this departure from their original sound has been carried off with such emphatic success, maintaining heaviness and intensity, whilst honing down previous attempts at incorporating melody to produce a really mature sounding record of a band flying the flag for a more accessible Hardcore sound without sacrificing any of the integrity that got Turnstile where they are now.
Be you a fan of the Nonstop Feeling, Step to Rhythm
, or even the Pressure To Succeed
eras of Turnstile's back-catalogue, there's something on Time and Space
for any Turnstile lover. And even if you've never really gotten on with Hardcore punk, or the genre's completely uncharted territory for you, give this LP a go; fusing so many genres whilst staying true to it's (hard)core, Turnstile have crafted an incredibly strong sophomore record that's instantly accessible and infectiously catchy.