If you were around during the heyday of 90’s hardcore and alt-rock then Baltimore’s Turnstile is definitely a band that should be on your radar, if not, then you’re in for a treat. Their 2018 release Time & Space was touted by NME as “the new shape of punk to come”, which has put a lot of attention to their third full-length record, GLOW ON. As it turns out, the labels (including ‘hardcore’) given to them looks too narrow in hindsight, as this album blows away all conventions, and its all the better for it.
GLOW ON has production choices that make the record more listenable without taking away the visceral nature of Turnstile’s heavy roots. Producer Mike Elizondo has done a good job with this balancing act, maintaining the raw nature of the band while putting enough space for them to be emotional with synths and electronic flourishes that you can sparsely find in hardcore records. The songs are short and sweet, hardly passing the three-minute mark, making the ideas and hooks do their thing and leaving you wanting for more.
What’s best of all, is that the record is fun. Songs are compatible with both mosh pits and large arena’s alike. Vocalist Brendan Yates does this intentionally, as stated in “BLACKOUT”: “If it makes you feel alive!/Well, then I’m happy to provide!” Anthemic songs are the norm here, and catharsis reigns supreme for both the artist and the listener. Truly a communal experience that feels balanced and seamless. “HOLIDAY” straight up feels like a celebration. “T.L.C.(Turnstile Love Connection)” is a relentless blast of enjoyment, with plenty of ideas densely packed in a tight space.
With the many songs in the lineup comes room for experimentation. “UNDERWATER BOI” is filled with swimming guitars that dive into psychedelia. A mix of surf with an 80’s pop groove and a bit of distorted guitar. “ALIEN LOVE CALL” is a collaboration with Blood Orange, an odd pairing that works exquisitely well, adding to the range of Turnstile’s bag of wonders.
Glow on is the kind of record that makes you optimistic about the future of rock. Brendan Yates and crew shed all restrictions, in turn finding new boundaries for the genre to flourish. Balancing crazy and entertaining ideas to come up with something fresh.