Turn – Antisocial

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Album Review by Mark Bayross

Turn’s assault on the music industry has been more of a gradual tactical campaign than a blitzkrieg. A bit of a gamble considering how quickly guitar bands are gaining column inches in Kerrang! with not much to their name but a couple of recorded tunes and a lot of expectant promise.

CHECK MY EARS, a compilation of both sides of the band’s first three singles, certainly hinted at a promising debut album to follow. Well, here it is, and I am glad to say the Dublin trio have risen gallantly to the occasion.

Recent single TOO MUCH MAKE UP is a confident opening blast of guitar noise and is followed by the rough and ready BEESWAX (an early single – also on CHECK MY EARS), but ANTISOCIAL and the female-accompanied THESE THREE WORDS mark a significant change of pace, being pretty acoustic ballads enlivened by generous injections of grunge.

In fact, high drama is the order of the day here, whether it’s the energetic romp of QUEEN OF MYHEART (which must sound great live) or MY ORBISON which is sufficiently anthemic to give Muse or JJ72 a run for their money. Subtlety, a quality that Turn seems to have developed since their early singles, then becomes very apparent, from the fairground simplicity of the Lennonesque GAV AND ANNE and to the folky AFTER WE GO and the frankly, rather fey, guitar pop of WORDS.

The oddly-named TIRED LOVE SONG is anything but – shimmering with reverb-heavy guitars and soaring vocals, it builds into a huge ball of angst that explodes all over the speakers. It’s almost good enough for me to compare it to The God Machine. After that, the closing I STILL BELIEVE is a bit too formulaic, but then you can’t blame the band for giving themselves a hard act to follow.

The weakest part of Turn’s sound was always Ollie Cole’s strained vocals, but here they fit the music well, either slowly lilting across an acoustic strum or riding the crest of a wave of guitar chords, reaching for the end of the pain-o-meter.

Like the latest Catherine Wheel album, I would have preferred a few more punchy tunes, but Turn have crafted a debut album of maturity, from which they can only move forward.

4 stars