Power pop isn’t dead and The Turnback are here to prove it. Actually, this style of pop/rock has managed to weather the fickle taste of the music buying public over the years as it ran from grunge, to dance, to Americana and back. While The Turnback sound familiar, in a good way, they also bring a fresh spin to the music. Oddly, there is little biographical info on the trio, but from the pictures on their website they look like they’ve been at this a while. Fortunately, experience works in their favor and that of the listener.
Their second album, Are We There Yet? also defies convention as it is anything but a sophomore slump. “Five Days a Week” is the album’s first single and is a good indication of what this New York City-based trio is up to, though there are several other songs that would have been an even better choice.
“Faketown,” the opening track, roots itself in the mid-90s, but with a slightly rockier edge. Think of a punchier Gin Blossoms. The chorus has a great hook, too. Of course, 90s bands weren’t without their influences including 60s era rock and pop. The Turnback similarly take a few cues from that time period, particularly in the harmonies. “Revolution Girl” demonstrates this right down to its Summer of Love-inspired title.
“If I Were God” gets a little political and theological as suggestions on the future of Sarah Palin are discussed. God also, as it turns out, has a few other things he’d like to get off his chest.
Things border on the punky with “Reveal” and “A Place for Me.” The former sounds like mid-80s Upper Midwest punk, a la Husker Du, while the latter has more of a Los Angeles punk feel from the same era. But again, The Turnback make it their own and make it sound contemporary. If you like more straight ahead rock, try out “July” or “First Song of Summer.” Another rocker is “A Long Way Home.”
Keeping a cohesive sound, but adeptly exploring several avenues of rock and pop, The Turnback should be right up your alley.
9 Turns Out of 10
PF Wilson has been writing about music, TV, radio, and movies for over 20 years. He has also written about sports, business, and politics with his work appearing in Cincinnati CityBeat, The Houston Press, Cleveland Scene, Cincinnati Magazine, Cincy Magazine, Atomic Ranch, and many more. Check out his podcast PF’s Tape Recorder available from Podbean or in iTunes.