There is something very interesting happening within alternative music right now, where bands usually accustomed to one set genre are performing massive musical u-turns and exploring incredible new directions. One of the more familiar changes that has been happening over the past couple of years is that of (predominantly) pop-punk bands turning to shoegaze and grunge – otherwise known as ’90s revival’. Now there is nothing wrong with this whatsoever, however there does seem to be the worry of over saturation with it becoming the current musical trend of choice.
So naturally when Virginia Beach based pop-punk band Turnover announced details of their sophomore effort Peripheral Vision via Run For Cover Records, the band stated “our new record is very different and it’s very far from pop-punk”. They didn’t however, disclose as to what it would sound like, and for very good reason. Peripheral Vision is a musical diamond in the rough, that will hypnotise you straight from the get go and shatter all preconceptions you may have ever had of Turnover as a band; especially if you were already familiar with their earlier material on Magnolia.
For first time listeners, Peripheral Vision’s musical direction owes itself more so to British bands of varying eras. For example, late 70s / early 80s new wave influences such as Joy Division, The Smiths, and Echo & The Bunnymen. There are also strong vocal and musical elements of late 80s / early 90s indie rock, and shoegaze artists such as Stone Roses, Slowdive, and The La’s that can be clearly heard throughout. But with all these reference points to which the trained ear can particularly point out, there are also comparisons to other contemporary bands such as DIIV, The Brian Jonestown Massacre, and the now defunct Wu Lyf.
So even though Turnover have come from a background where they were likened to bands such as Title Fight, Daylight (now called Superheaven), and Basement, Peripheral Vision is a far cry from these roots, but somehow they do not necessarily alienate or disregard the community to which supported them in the first place.
Peripheral Vision is a finely produced and musically coherent piece of work that displays just how much they have not only grown as a band, but also shows signs of musical maturity far beyond their early 20’s age range. As a whole, the album is pretty much solid front to back with gorgeous yet soothing songs that can be played at any time of day and for any occasion. The playability factor with Peripheral Vision is beyond strong. You will arguably find something new to digest with every single play, which in essence provides for a truly substantial listening experience.
But, with every great album there are always a few flaws. The album’s continuous flow is very, very slightly marred by its weakest song ‘Take My Head’, but only for its middle 8 section which seems somewhat out-of-place and does not really fit the pace of the song. This is not to say it is a bad song because it is in fact a cool tune, but if that middle section was improved, this could have easily been one of the albums highlights. Another criticism is due to some distinctly repetitive vocal harmonies by Austin Getz, although this is not necessarily an issue as he does has a terrific voice.
It is tough to really pick out a highlight on this album as Peripheral Vision is rammed with them. But when you are armed with songs such as the gorgeous lead single ‘New Scream’, the catchy yet live favourite in the making ‘Hello Euphoria’, ‘Diazepam’ – which almost takes a nod to Stone Roses ‘I Wanna Be Adored’, and the ballad inducing ‘Dizzy On The Comedown’, it is incredibly challenging to not be sucked in to the whirling charm that this album delivers.
In summary, Turnover have delivered one of the most beautiful, tender, and satisfying releases of the year. Not only have they managed to successfully evolve as a bunch of talented musicians, but they have also made a truly remarkable album which sees them merge two totally different sides of the musical spectrum without alienating their fanbase and community who got them to where they are in the first place. Peripheral Vision is a work of stunning beauty and delicacy, and should be heard by any self-respecting fan of music no matter what the genre. A genuine treat from start to finish.