Whilst some bands follow and obey a strict tour-to-record cycle, pumping out material on a routine basis, Bristol’s own Turbowolf aren’t one for it. Whilst the band first came into existence in 2008, the band are now only on the cusp of releasing their third full length, The Free Life. Many have cited such prolonged gaps between releases crucial to their fantastic artform, giving them the time to conjure such characteristic material in their own time. After all, such alchemy requires patience. This sentiment may be true considering The Free Life may be Turbowolf’s best offering to date.
For a band that has always embraced weirder side of contemporary rock music, Turbowolf have claimed that their roots are firmly embedded within punk sensibilities. Not as is in the stereotypical musical and ideological perception of punk, but in the sense that they fully embrace the DIY ethos and the ‘anything goes’ spirt of the original movement. Such devotion to this ethos shines through within The Free Life, with Turbowolf creating a beast of a record that fully presents their weird, wild and charmingly creative take of neo-psychedelia tinged rock. There’s simply so many layers and dimensions to this record that won’t be evident within the first listen, but with patience, this is an album that blossoms into its own unparalleled creation. Whilst the group haven’t torn up the blueprints of their easily distinguishable sound to start anew, there seems to have a been a conscious decision to take a step back, review their progress, and to refine their work.
As any fans of this act would know, the work of their collective inspirations are audible within their material, albeit subtle. However, the group have composed such influences from past and presents acts and have moulded it to be a sound from a distant futuristic timeline. Album opener ‘No No No’ begins with an ominous distant speech prior to bursting into an industrial buzzsaw of a riff that eventually gives way to a bridge containing a range of spacey and translucid synths. The entire album swings from metal oriented structures to free spirted pop and psychedelic sensibilities within a moments notice, providing an alluring sense of engagement and juxtaposition. Whilst this may hint at the album becoming predictable with time, this couldn’t be further from the truth; the only blanketing theme is Turbowolf’s own creative fluidity. Each of the 11 tracks present here contains its own distinct atmospheric identity, with the likes of ‘Very Bad’ metamorphosing from confrontational heavy rock riffs to distorting spacey synth tones and ‘Capital X’ presenting electrifying groove laden structures. There’s simply so much content here to chew on, and each listen will provide you with a fresh perspective to their work.
However, one of the most prominent and engaging elements of this record is the condensed and gritty guitar tones. Both abrasive and defiant, such tones amplify the pneumatic intensity of tracks such like ‘Blackhole’ and ‘Last Three Clues’ whilst complementing the more spacey, psychedelia tinged material found within ‘Halfsecret’ and ‘Concluder’. Whilst it may sound aggressive and brash initially, the flexibility within such a tone is outstanding and becomes a testament and an artefact of the groups DIY ethos.
In all, The Free Life see’s Turbowolf at their most creative, characteristic and uncaged. The group have clearly taken the time to refine their already distinguishable sound to it’s maximum potential and deliver an album that provides their kaleidoscopic sound at its most pure. Weird, wild and engaging on an unparalleled level, this could well and truly be one of best psychedelic rock albums to be released this year.