Turnover, once emo, once indie rock, now synth pop has been through many dramatic changes.
Their newest album, “Myself in the Way” has certainly been the biggest change yet. For better or for worse, Turnover has stepped entirely away from their humble emo-rock roots and is evolving into a highly synthentizer oriented band.
Past Work and Criticism
To give some history, this is not the first time Turnover has had a genre shift. Their 2019 album, “Altogether” was quite controversial due to their sudden departure from indie rock.
“Altogether” is provided many new sounds and tones from Turnover that throughly diversified and matured their overall discography. Although it was a shift, it still referenced their previous work.
However, “Altogether” was poorly received in comparison to their previous albums, “Peripheral Vision” and “Good Nature”.
In Pitchfork’s review of “Altogether” they claimed, “Turnover shot themselves in the foot at the get-go. They hoped for an album that was simple, but the banality that manifested instead was a pretty inevitable side effect.”
I as much as I enjoyed the sounds that emerged in “Altogether”, I was surprised to see them step even further away from their more popular genres.
“Peripheral Vision” was an undeniably solid indie rock album. They finally came into their voice in this album, it is hard to imagine them stepping away from it. In stead of doubling down and producing another solid rock album, they decided to explore. I don’t blame them for that.
“Altogether” was a successful exploration. “Myself in the Way” took that exploration a step too far– the result creating an unfamiliar band that is hard to connect to.
“Myself in the Way”
I have been a fan of all of Turnover’s work up until this newest album.
They have stripped themselves of all the authenticity and skill seen in “Peripheral Vision” and “Altogether” and replaced it with a hollow mess of synthesizers and autotune.
The album has been described as a blend of dream pop, disco, funk, and synth pop. Simply no reference to their perilous genres they have spent their entire careers developing.
I appreciate and admire artists that defy expectations and try something new, but Turnover is not building upon their strengths. They have ignored their best moments and amplified their worst.
For example, Turnover’s lyrics have always been on the borderline of genuine or hollow– and unfortunately the lyricism in this album is quite a disappointment. Track, “Fantasy” is the prime example of this,
“What’s your fantasy
I’d really like to know
What you’re thinking about
When your smile starts to show”
To highlight a positive, track “Wait Too Long” was a favorite on the album. Although it had very distracting, conflicting backing tracks, it was nice to hear a nice bass line and some reference to the sounds in “Altogether”.
One of the failures of Turnover in their previous work and in this release, was inserting unnecessary instruments into their songs. In track, “People That We Know” there is a rambunctious, bold trumpet line.
In the right song with deliberate placement– brass lines can take a good song to a great song. Although, in this scenario it is too timid to be the highlight yet too frequent that it takes away from the song.
To summarize, this album was disappointing and distracting.
This album truly made me doubt the overall skill of this band. Was he success of the past few albums just a fluke? Have they abandoned their roots entirely? I sincerely hope not.
I am quite interested to see how this album will be received by the general public.
Turnover has been one of my favorite bands for quite some time, but has lost some of that love in this release. I sincerely hope they return to some of the sounds in their past.
However, bands change and music change. If this is the new avenue for Turnover and this is the genre that brings them passion– so be it.
If you would like to hear more of Turnover and see them perform, they will be touring at Cat’s Cradle in Carrboro Dec. 15.