Review Summary: Twisted and fun like always...
Turbowolf are back with their most chiseled album yet, The Free Life
. Their manic blend of punk, alternative rock, stoner grooves, vintage metal as well as outlandish psychedelia received a slight beautification, however, none of the fun was removed in the process. The band still sounds as if they are about to snap at any moment, plus the entire LP can be compared to a whirlwind. Who listened to their discography could see this smooth production related transition from the raw debut, but there is a lot to love here so no worries.
Right from the start, Turbowolf set things ablaze through the punchy trio consisting of ‘No No No’, ‘Capital X’ & ‘Cheap Magic’. These adrenaline shots boast frantic riffs, embellished by cute synths and occasional, unexpected melodic detours. It’s remarkable how they twist patterns or switch to different ones at the snap of a finger. The steroid-pumped boogie fueling ‘Cheap Magic’ is hypnotic, while its finale makes room for some strutting licks. They lead us to one of the heaviest tunes here, ‘Very Bad’, which features pile-driving riffage on top of pounding drums. As it progresses, the hellish progressions get interspersed with moodier segments, whereas the heartfelt vocals of Chantal Brown (from the band Vodun) fit really well (in an odd manner) alongside paranoid keyboards.
At the heart of the record, the pop sensibilities take the forefront on the lighter cut, ‘Half Secrets’. The hand claps and twangy guitars gently play as the vocals blend with organ touches. Nevertheless, we’re rapidly thrown right back into the fold when the chugs of ‘Domino’ take over. The song shows Turbowolf’s knack for mean grooves and make you glad they don’t go full mainstream. They have the potential, since they currently lie somewhere in between. Despite this chance, I fear it would ruin the brilliant affairs they craft. On the other hand, the longer tracks offer multiple sonic changes and The Free Life
shares a few too. ‘Last Three Clues’ goes from a hard rocker to fast paced scorcher. There are a couple of slow passages tying the main ideas, but the raging energy is kept intact all the time. ‘Up N Atom’ cranks the volume all the way during choruses, shifting gears every minute, while the title track is out of control (in the best way possible). Its swerving riffs portray the band’s strengths very well. All in all, you will be surprised to see how much you discover in only 40 minutes. I truly admire these guys’ progress, so I hope they continue down this twisted road, using a dozen styles to craft such strong material that also has a familiar feel to it.