Turnstile – ‘GLOW ON’ review: the sound of rock music stretched to its thrilling limits

Through collaborations with Blood Orange and boundaryless approach to experimentation, the Baltimore band further their singular vision

In 2018, upon the release of their last album ‘Time & Space’, NME called Turnstile “the new shape of punk to come,” a hardcore band intent on tearing down boundaries and disrupting rock music’s status quo. Three years on, as they release their third full-length record, ‘GLOW ON’, even the ‘punk’ term now feels too restrictive: this is an album that shuns almost any traditional categorisation, and is all the more thrilling for it.

While ‘Time & Space’ was produced by US rock and hardcore staple Will Yip, for ‘GLOW ON’ they’ve enlisted Mike Elizondo – Dr. Dre’s prodigy who’s produced for Fiona Apple and Eminem – to co-produce the record with singer Brendon Yates. The band also team up with Blood Orange for a pair of collaborations. The first of these link-ups, ‘Alien Love Call’, is the album’s biggest step out, a beautiful slow jam defined by guitars swimming in reverb and that finishes with a predictably impactful spoken word segment from Dev Hynes. The album then closes with ‘Lonely Dezires’, a woozy punk song that sounds like putting Green Day through a My Bloody Valentine filter.

The furious, moshpit-inducing riffing of ‘Time & Space’ still has its place on ‘GLOW ON’, but its sparser inclusions make the heavy moments hit even harder than before. Single ‘Holiday’ is a joyous romp of celebration, while ‘T.L.C.’ (Turnstile Love Connection) sees the band at their relentless, frantic best, packing five different sections and a brain full of ideas into 100 seconds flat.

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Another highlight, ‘Don’t Play’, opens with the sound of a pitched up vocal that playfully yelps “Yeeeeeeaaaah!” before a heavy-yet-funky groove commences, the voice reminiscent of a child gleefully anticipating some ensuing chaos. It makes the track’s title feel like a taunt. Later in the song, melodic piano makes an entrance in its chorus before a hardcore breakdown gives way to a hair metal guitar solo featuring, yes, bongos. Across the track, snare drums are replaced by drum machine sounds that evoke claps of thunder.

Elsewhere, ‘Underwater Boi’ channels the summery, washed-out indie wave of the early 2010s, while interlude ‘No Surprise’ sees bassist Franz Lyons showing off his low but melodic voice, the ying to Yates’ yelped yang. “I can sail with no direction,” Yates repeats over and over on ‘Holiday’, a highlight of an album that goes wherever it damn pleases, scorching a new path for others in their wake. Sometimes not knowing where you’re going next is the most exciting thing possible.

Details

Turnstile

Release date: August 27

Record label: Roadrunner

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