Turnover - Good Nature
Stream the full album on Youtube
Depending on who you ask, the recent wave of emo-revival bands this decade is either fantastic or absolutely terrible. Citizen, Title Fight, and Basement have all taken the sounds of midwestern emo bands and injected them into various genres (pop punk, hardcore, and alternative rock, respectively) to varying levels of success that, once again, depend on whom you ask, but none of these bands seem to have the cult-like appeal of Virginia Beach’s Turnover. Originally sporting a sound not unlike early Citizen or The Story So Far on their debut, Magnolia, the band decided to take a new direction on 2015’s Peripheral Vision, infusing delay-tinged shoegaze and indie with their emo/pop-punk that produced a sound resembling that of dream-pop. The album was a hit, appealing to listeners of all scenes and genres. The band, following emotional abuse allegations against now-former guitarist Eric Soucy, have returned in 2017 with the follow-up to their breakthrough record: Good Nature.
I’ll skip my usual schtick of delving into the tracks in depth because, frankly, they just don’t have the same level of memorable songwriting to really get into the meat and potatoes of it. Good Nature isn’t bad outright; I certainly wouldn’t call it boring, but it feels as if the band are trying to painfully force lightning into a bottle for a second time, leading to a completely disjointed and awkward listen. Sure, there are some standout songs like lead single “Supernatural” and “Pure Devotion.” Both are as catchy and endearing as anything off Peripheral Vision, but also represent a rare occurrence amongst a sea of tracks that can sound downright lazy.
Again, there’s nothing offensively bad here, but it is confusing to see how the band was able to write such addictingly bubbly guitar melodies as well as remarkably morose yet catchy hooks two years ago has managed to almost completely fail the second time around. “Sunshine Type” is a perfect example, featuring a hook that not only manages to sound like it was written last-minute just to finish the song, but also also manages to be rather boring, which is something I would never have expected from a band like Turnover. It lacks the genuine charm of the previous record, making for a record that feels like a case of style over substance.
Speaking of style, perhaps some of the blame for the relatively lack of quality can be attributed to infamous (depending on who you ask) producer, Will Yip. Part of what made Peripheral so retro-fresh was the spacey production that gave it a winter sunset-like quality befitting the melancholy vibe of the record. This is not present on Good Nature at all. In fact, the album feels too polished. While the guitars on Peripheral weren’t distorted, they certainly weren’t bleach-clean. Vocalist Austin Getz is barely audible in the mix as well, and given the fact that the band is well known for their lyrics and melodies, this choice doesn’t exactly help much.
Good Nature feels like meeting up with an old friend or loved one after a long period of no contact, only to find that the connection you once had with each other is no longer present. The record feels familiar, but the band simply failed to recreate what they had so brilliantly done two years ago. Austin Getz was once quoted in an Upset Magazine article saying that the shift in sound from Magnolia to Peripheral Vision wasn’t “anything deliberate, ever” and that the band never “decided [that they] want to make this kind of record.” Perhaps that’s all Peripheral Vision was: a lightning-in-a-bottle type of record that could never really be replicated.
- Cesar G.