Turnover, hailing out of Virginia, US, continue their evolution from pop-punk upstarts to dream pop acolytes. A band that once opened up for New Found Glory are now fully channeling the likes of Real Estate and The Pains of Being Pure at Heart. On their fourth studio album, Turnover seem fully settled into their new sound and matured identity.
“Still In Motion” embraces the more lounge-ready elements that Turnover are often drawn to. Gentle saxophone and patient pianos introduce Austin Getz’s vocals, which for stylistic purposes are pushed comfortably into the back of the mix. Sweet melodies meet jangly guitars, all pushed through a sepia-toned, reverb-washed filter. Pretty standard dream pop play.
“Much After Feeling” introduces some choppy groove and a soul-inspired falsetto, tapping into RnB influences blended into their psychedelia. There is a clear Tame Impala influence present. “Parties” is one of the more energetic cuts on the record, with snappy drums and slanted guitar riffs. Getz sings of social detachment and insecurities. The bridge scales back the hazy exterior for a more anthemic approach that could pass for an INXS B-side.
The uptempo “Numbers On The Gate” calls back to Revolver-era Beatles with its backward guitar effect. It’s an interesting experiment, but it doesn’t quite suck the listener in more than it serves as a distracting gimmick. With its jittery, fragmented instrumentation, too much is going on for the band to properly balance out.
The songwriting begins to weaken in the middle section of the album; a clear loss of momentum is felt in the overall listening experience. “Sending Me Right Back”, for example, tiptoes along with an uninteresting hook and bland, copy and paste instrumentals. The loungey elements return on “Ceramic Sky”. The sultry sax is at best a nice touch, but the entire track feels like nothing ore than an interlude designed to fill time on the tracklisting.
“Valley Of The Moon”, a nighttime ballad, is the longest song on the record and also the weakest. It lulls along far past its welcome with very standard dream pop riffs and passages. There are times when Turnover begin to sound painfully similar to Mac DeMarco without the slacker charm.
Things pick up again toward the record’s conclusion. “No Reply” is a shimmering pop tune with some tasteful harmonies. Everything sounds equally mixed, resulting in a warm blanket of sound versus letting the instrumental arrangement function as a nest for the layers of vocals.
The crisp “Plant Sugar” is the most rock-centric track on the album. Clocking in at just over two-minutes, Turnover doesn’t let a single second go to waste. The melodious, punchy guitars resemble The Strokes at their peak.
“Temporary Love” is an appropriate finale. The band breaks out of their typical formula for a more synth-heavy affair. The track’s overall melancholia gives it a sophisti-pop feel in the vein of Avalon-era Roxy Music or The Blue Nile. It’s a welcome change of pace. The band should look to diversify their sound even more like this if they are to release a more solid, complete album in the future, one they certainly seem to have the potential for.
Altogether overall is a fairly pleasant and enjoyable listen, though it never truly reaches any evocative heights. An inconsistent album with clear low points towards the middle, it’s hard to find anything distinctive about Turnover that would separate them from the already highly saturated field of dream pop/indie rock artists out there. Getz’s singing is never bad, but his vocals never seem to find their own identity. These songs follow the genre’s blueprint to the tee, completely to a fault. Tracks off this album will easily pass in cafés playing Beach House Pandora stations quietly in the background, but it will hardly be remembered on its own strength in the coming months.
Altogether is released Friday 1st November via Run For Cover.