Powerpop CD Review: Turnback’s Are We There Yet?
The Beatles influence is indisputable from the inside-out (sort of) “Taxman” riff for “Revolution Girl” to the LPs only cover tune, a powerful version of “Tomorrow Never Knows”. However, The Turnback‘s Are We There Yet? is in no way directive. The wonderful harmonies and memorable hooks alone make it a cut above just about anything else I’ve heard this year. Are We There Yet, has a muscular quality to it (similar to XTC‘s Black Sea, perhaps) that takes these songs over the top, a sound that I imagine translates very well to the live stage.
After having spent a little time in Hollywood recently, “Faketown” immediately hit home. A powerful rant against the music industry, it sets the table perfectly for the rest of the LP. “Revolution Girl” is a bit of Beatles Revolver era pop powered by an infectious guitar riff that sort of reminded me of an inverted “Taxman”. Not at all derivative (like The Jam’s blatant “Start” ripoff), it creates a texture that carries the song – a real joy to listen to. “July” is a melodic gem and the harmonies on “First Song of Summer” are sure to please even the most hardcore fans of harmony bands. “Unmotivated”, “A Long Way Home”, “A Place for Me” and “Five Day’s a Week” are also standout tracks. Hell – that’s nearly every track, isn’t it?
The Turnback draw their sound from powerpop lineage of each decade from the 60’s until now. Together, these influences make for a wonderful concoction – something that sounds fresh and new while at the same time feeling somewhat familiar. Are these guys Husker Du for the new millennium? I dunno but I can tell you that Are We There Yet? is one of the best powerpop LPs of this year. Highly recommended.