Turnaways Bring The Love On New Album
Turnaways. Photo: Derek Rathbun
Seeing tons of live music has been my thing since I was old enough to get into the clubs. Seeing a band grow up and shed their former selves has always been something that I’ve treasured as a fan of music. The first time I heard Houston’s Turnaways, I realized that these guys seemed to really love Green Day. After catching them perform live for the past couple of years, I’ve watched them grow from some kids who wore their influence all over their clothes to a band that’s grown past all of that while staying one of the tightest punk bands you can see perform. One their new album Summer Love, Turnaways throw away that past image for something new, catchy, and ultimately stronger than any influence they had when they began. In ten songs they move forward while keeping their pop punk roots to drop an album that’s worth loving.
They kick things off with the speedy and surf rock inspired sounds of “California Wine.” While the vocals still have hints of Billie Joe Armstrong, the band keeps things tight while employing anthemic chants to keep the catchy track on pace, making the song closer to an anthem than anything else. They give you another catchy track with the follower, “Zombie Queen,” where the band echoes the likes of Ramones and The Runaways in their delivery. Steering from traditional pop punk structures, they’ve quickly proven that they’ve grown as songwriters while adding dual backing vocals that are hooky enough to make the listener want to sing along with the first listen. They take things away from the punk structure further on “11 to 9” and they don’t stop going hard. The way the drums stay snappy and the guitars don’t let up definitely steers you away from what you’d expect from a punk band, putting them closer to a traditional rock sound.
The hooks don’t stop with these guys on the song “Heading Out West,” while they take a different direction on “Huntington Beach.” The band quickly takes a huge step as songwriters with a song that’s far and away from what you’ve come to expect from them. The song contains enough varying elements from pop rock, pop punk, and alt rock, making it hard to define away from the fact that, like most of the tracks found here, they’re catchy as hell. Keeping your ears piqued, they add acoustic guitar on the opening of another barn burner with “Uncomfortable.” It’s almost as if someone challenged this band to write catchy songs, because like most of the ten, this song has the kind of pace that you can’t deny while they add elements that are far outside the genre today. The group vocals of “Change of Scenery” keep things anthemic before the band brings a riff that’s eerily close to the live version of Nirvana’s “Aneurysm” with the track “Speed.” While I don’t think that was the band’s intention here, it’s what I immediately thought of throughout the entirety of the track.
They slow things a bit on the extremely catchy and almost radio-friendly “Isabelle.” While it wasn’t my favorite song on the album by any means, the song shows that this band has definitely changed from who they were when they began. They close things off with another strong track on “Elmquist Ave.” Though there’s a little too many “la la la la la” lyrical moments on the song, there’s no denying that the song sticks with you after the first listen. The way in which the band has figured out a way to make their songs so catchy and memorable proves that they’re on their way to something larger. Don’t sleep on this band by any means. Their live sets are always full of energy and if they keep dropping albums as strong as this one, they could be bigger than anyone else in Houston sooner than later.