25th October | Anson Rooms
There was an obvious excitement to the performance as Turnover played tracks like, ‘Parties’ and ‘Much After Leaving’ from their soon-to-be-released fourth record, Altogether. A continuation of the band’s progression towards dream-pop and indie, lead singer, Austin Getz, stayed seated behind the keyboard, occasionally picking up the acoustic guitar to accompany the rest of the band.
I’ve seen Turnover twice prior to this gig, each shortly after the release of their last two albums, and despite a more sedentary presence behind the microphone, Getz felt more animated and interpretive of earlier work. Saying that, Turnover’s lyrics have a heart-on-your-sleeve openness that doesn’t require interpretation.
Their early records lean more emo than indie, like Peripheral Vision which features album art of a smashed photo of a young woman and lyrics that orbit a devastating break-up. On their third LP, Good Nature, there was a definite shift to the more upbeat and California vibe, but there was still the undercurrent of emotional turmoil.
The juxtaposition of Turnover’s lyrics versus the laid-back, dream-like state of their music is a looming sucker punch to your heart, that waits for you to smile and sing along until you realise that you’ve sung the line, “Cut by brain into hemispheres/I want to smash my face until there’s nothing but ears.” Perhaps not as chill as that guitar riff would lead you to believe.
A small, quasi-related aside, British concert-goers find it irresistible to sing along to catchy, lead guitar melodies. After years of attending gigs in a number of countries, it’s an adorable, if at times kind of annoying, trait that is unique to these isles. In a way, it furthers the pull of Turnover’s musical gravity. Turnover know how to hook you in with a melodic riff that makes you want to be happy, but the brutal honesty pulls you back down to Earth and reminds you that person you’re fawning over doesn’t know you exist.
It’s pretty baseline to have such obvious lyrics about being rejected, lonely or enamoured, but the specificity of the situations that Turnover sing about are what make them different and explains why they change so much from record to record. Furthermore, they move away from previous releases in their live show quicker than other bands, in a way that’s more repressive than progressive.
Since the release of their second album, they’ve all but destroyed the masters of their pop-punk debut, and tracks from the second and third, while still played, are quickly taking a back seat or are reworked to feel more in line with the phantasmagoric, indie rock of Altogether.
The physical embodiment of ‘happy sad’ and dripping with reverb, Turnover’s performance and presence is like a haze that washes over you and is, now, one that leaves you in a lighter mood than it previously did. But it might still conjure up all those memories of the one that got away, all those years ago.
See the video for ‘Much After Feeling’ here: