Turnstile - Time & Space
Time & Space
Released on February 23rd, 2018 on Roadrunner, Time & Space is the second studio album by Baltimore hardcore punk band Turnstile. The 13 track, 25 minute LP serves up everything we love about classic records by bands like, Have Heart and Ceremony, while bringing plenty of its own signature sauce to the table.
First, if you don’t like big loud music, you’re not gonna like this. However, even if you're not a regular hardcore music fan, this album deserves a listen. It’s an inside joke amongst music fans that Turnstile is hardcore for people that don’t normally listen to hardcore.
The production is gorgeously glossy, and while at times it comes close, it doesn’t lose its edge. Where it lacks the chaotic energy that I love from certain classic hardcore albums, it makes up for in musicianship, attention to detail, and production value.
Throughout this record, transitions are adorned by flangered drums and shredding guitars. There’s plenty of panning, which gives the listening experience on both speakers and headphones their own unique qualities. In addition to high production value, the mixing is phenomenal thanks to veteran engineer & producer Will Yip, who’s worked with Circa Survive, Turnover, and Touché Amoré to name a few.
"Generator" and "Moon" kill it with alt-rock radio level hooks. “Moon” features powerfully sung vocals by bassist Franz Lyons, and a second verse from Sheer Mag’s Tina Halladay. Full disclosure, I didn’t even notice it was two different vocalists on the first few listens. "I Don't Wanna Be Blind" and "Real Thing" deliver classic shout-along hardcore refrains. For the mosh-horny there are plenty of pit-inciting moments (check out the unforgettable stomp on "(Lost Another) Piece Of My World.”)
If you’re used to classic hardcore albums, most of the songs are actually comparatively fleshed out. However, at an average runtime of 1:50, some of the songs leave you wanting more, and the songs that are longer, such as "Generator", seem like two songs stitched together. This is a defendable quality for an album of this genre, as it's loud and can fatigue the ear.
Turnstile is not afraid to experiment. There are fun little interludes (the catchy "Bomb" featuring Lauryn Hill collaborator Tanikka Charrae, and the jazzy electric piano sound on "Disco") that diversify the aural experience beyond what you would normally find on a hardcore record. Although, I'd love to hear them further realize some of these musical detours. I don’t wish to take away points from the band for leaving these snippets as snippets, but they’re only appetizers and could certainly be re-plated as entrees.
The background vocals are a vital element on this album. At times, they add a level of lighthearted playfulness (those “uh-huh”s on “Generator”). At other times, heavily reverberated "oo-oohs" appropriately create a sense of space, although, they’re a bit overused.
If you asked your local punk if a hardcore band could collaborate with Diplo without completely losing street cred, they would definitely say “no,” but on “Right To Be,” Turnstile did just that, and gracefully (probably because it’s barely noticeable). This isn’t the only example of them pulling off the previously unthinkable. Turnstile seems to be the exception to every old-head hardcore snob rule. Occasionally, their sound seriously approaches the grungey nu-metal territory that has even resulted in them to being compared to 311, but again, they pull it off. It’s their willingness to lean in and to explore these sounds that makes them such an interesting band.
They’re like that old-punk-from-down-the-street's younger brother and he's just as wild; just he could probably do well in a job interview too. He has a level of humility absent in the archetypical holier-than-thou punk and that shit is working for him. Some might see that as less exciting, raw and gritty. I can understand why. All I can say is, I recommend getting over it. I see this as a possibility for progress. This could be the direction that will take the genre to new heights.
This is hardcore music that’s not angry. It’s sure of itself. It screams for the stars, not at it’s local congressman.
Favorite Songs: Generator, (Lost Another) Piece of My World, Moon
Least Remarkable Songs: Time & Space, High Pressure