Punk newcomers deliver thrills, spills on debut effort
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If there’s one thing you need to know about Baltimore newcomers Turnstile, it’s that they’re pissed off. And for twenty-seven minutes of unbridled, righteous fury on their first full-length debut effort, Nonstop Feeling, they get that point across damn well.
Feeling delivers everything you’d expect from a new face in the underbelly of American Punk: A heavy, chugging rhythm section with enough similar-sounding riffs that still rock hard enough to get heads banging (provided with stellar work from “B-Rady” Ebert and Sean Coo), a rocking bassline (thanks, Freaky Franz), a drummer that’s probably a little too fast for his own good (D-Fang), and a frontman (the rather normally named Brendon Yates) who’s ready to break down the walls of exploitation one wail at a time.
For a band with a live-centered focus, they prove here that they’ve learned a few tricks of the studio trade from producer Brian McTernan as interludes like “Bleach Temple” and “Love Lasso” intertwine nicely with the more standard ragers that have come to be commonplace within the genre. Add that to a melancholy near-ballad (“Blue by You”) and more than six or seven straight-up thrashers, and Yates and company have quite a bit to fit into such a short timespan.
They pull it off though, due largely to the healthy restraint among the heavy metal wreckage from B-Rady and Coo, and a nice sense of rhythm put on display by Yates who rides high above the ash-strewn remains of adversity. He may not have quite as much to say as his Punk Rock forebears, but when a narrative can be caught as in “Out of Rage,” the focal point of Yates’ anger may surprise. Meanwhile, the aptly titled “Can’t Deny it,” is filled with almost-profound verses (“There’s no such thing as truth/we all got a filter/that won’t let it through”) laid in with weightless choruses.
While “Blue by You” suggests that there is a heart under the calloused front, it’s the minute-and-a-half interlude “Love Lasso” that steals the show. The melancholy vibe provides a calm in the storm, a brief respite as the anti-war machine slows down for a minute to catch it’s breath like a road-weary band turning in after a long night. Still, “Stress” sends us off on a high note with Yates commanding “Wake up/Break down/Nothing’s wrong/Nothing’s right,” willing himself to get out of bed and fight on like he’s deep in the crevice of a bad semester. Maybe in a few weeks.