Turnstile delivers a sonic mosh pit on ‘Time & Space’

Henry Netherland

Courtesy of iTunes

Baltimore hardcore punk band, Turnstile are back and better than ever. On their debut, “Nonstop Feeling” the band delivered a mix bag of Rage Against the Machine worship with lackluster production that made the vocals intelligible, but detached from the instrumentals.

In the past, I have felt restrained from truly embracing a hardcore punk album due to its almost inevitable predictability, however, on “Time & Space,” the quintet have sharpened their writing skills and production for a nonstop ragefest. This thing is a tight 13 tracks sitting at 25 minutes with only “Generator” and “Can’t Get Away” surpassing 3 minutes each.

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Lead singer, Brendan Yates’ voice soars over the instrumental on every cut. His vocals are very undoctored and raw, but there is a melodic component to his voice that makes the songs much more catchier and diverse than other hardcore singers.

“Real Thing” is the perfect example of what to expect for the next 20 minutes. The bombastic melodic guitars are complimented well with the screamed vocals. The use of contemporary production gives a feeling of pristine and clarity without overextending and detrimenting the humanity of the cut.

These jazz motifs actually appear several times in the tracklisting. Songs like “Bomb” and “Disco” act as entire interludes with this sound. In theory, these sections could act as a perfect contrast to the over-the-top aggressiveness on the rest of the album. There were even whiffs of King Krule’s fantastic new album, “The OOZ,” showing up, especially on “Real Thing.” However, these moments were pretty underwhelming. The instrumentals are skeletal and do not progress into anything interesting. Luckily, these segments are all under a minute so they are not impossible to breeze through. However, whenever I listen to “Bomb” I find myself questioning what I was supposed to gain from the listening experience.

Initially, “High Pressure” sounds like everything that preceded it. This is before the chorus where out of nowhere, speedy piano chords fly in. The manic performance is reminiscent of the kind of piano playing Jerry Lee Lewis might have done in his prime. Although subtle, the piano gives every beat on the chorus much more punch than it normally would have.

Opens with these grungy chugging guitars, “I Don’t Wanna Be Blind” sounds eerily similar to much of Nirvana’s discography. Even lead singer, Brendan Yates sounds like he is doing his best Kurt Cobain impression on the opening verse. Fortunately, the band’s distinct sound pops back in on the chorus with the soaring vocals and rough guitars. Towards the end of the track, Bates unleashes a barrage of sucker punches in the form of repeating the song’s title.

“Moon” is one of the cleaner songs in the tracklist and actually features the band’s bassist on vocals, Franz Lyons. Lyons has easily one of the best vocal performances on the entire record despite being much less intense. There is a nasal inflection to his voice although I find it to add flavor rather than detract from the enjoyability of the song. The driving guitars and insanely catchy riffs compensate for the reservedness of the singing.

Should you listen to it? Absolutely

Turnstile’s “Time and Space” is one of the best hardcore punk releases I have heard in a long time. Not only did the band bring in all killer and almost no filler, but they almost managed to infuse the perfect amount of modern production in punk. Everything could be distinguished loud and clear without disrupting the raw energy of the performances. Not to mention the multiple vocal recordings allowed Yates’ singing to stand out from his influences and contemporaries. I was also impressed by how tight and to the point every track was. This may only be a 25 minute album, but every second is worth your time.

Best songs: “Real Thing,” “High Pressure,” “Moon,” “Generator,” “I Don’t Wanna Be Blind” and “Big Smile”

Worst song: “Bomb”

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Available on iTunes and Spotify

Collegian reporter Henry Netherland can be reached at entertainment@.com or on Twitter @NetherlandHenry.