Wednesday 22 September 2021

Review of 'Glow On' by Turnstile

Turnstile craft the catchiest hardcore punk tunes known to man on their latest album Glow On.  

Since forming in 2010, Baltimore band Turnstile have made a name for themselves among the hardcore community. This is largely for their wild live shows, which are known to attract somersaulting stagedivers and most recently a pooping mosher whose shit ended up on stage (did someone say Turdstile?). However, their unique sound has been just as much of a talking point. There’s something uniquely infectious about their brand of hardcore and on Glow On they’re sounding more infectious than a zombie bite. More infectious than a Victorian brothel. MORE INFECTIOUS THAN YOUR MOMMA'S BEDSHEETS. Okay, I'll stop now. 

Glow On is hookier and groovier than any hardcore album I’ve heard. Brendan Yates' vocals are aggressive yet incredibly melodic, and he uses them to turn every chorus into an anthemic belter. Spicing up the jagged riffs are a myriad of alternative percussion sounds including the funky cowbell on ‘Blackout’ and digital drums on ‘Holiday’. Even the tracks that start off traditionally punky still manage to throw in some curveball groovy rhythms such as the reggaeton-flavoured drumming of ‘Don’t Play’. It’s the type of catchiness you usually only hear on a pop record.

But make no mistakes: Glow On is definitely a hardcore record. It has all the hardcore hallmarks including bellowed vocals, razor-sharp riffs and badass breakdowns. Admittedly, there are a few softer dreampop tracks scattered into the tracklist that hardcore purists may turn their nose up at (what is r&b singer Blood Orange doing on a hardcore album??? tHiS iS uNaCcEpTaBlE!!!’). However, these dreampop tracks are vastly outnumbered by mosh anthems.

Personally, I think the dreampop tracks are just as good as the mosh anthems. The twinkling synths and shimmering guitars are beautiful and the Blood Orange's hypnotic vocals provide a nice contrast to Yates' yell. By bringing down the pace, these slower softer tracks also help the mosh anthems to hit twice as hard. This is what Turnstile are masters at – pacing and variety. They know exactly when to switch things up in order to keep the listener engaged. Sometimes it’s just the smallest details like a piano intro or a wacky Tom-Morello-esque guitar solo. The band don’t allow you time to get bored.

All in all, it’s a pretty flawless record. It’s not doing anything complex or wildly experimental, but it has enough quirks to keep it captivating, plus it’s catchy AF while still sounding loud and mean. It’s the best rock record I’ve heard this year. Maybe even AOTY material.