Turnover – ‘Myself In The Way’

By Aaron Jackson

Until recently, things had been pretty non-stop for Virginia Beach four-piece Turnover; they had been consistently touring and releasing new music regularly since 2012. It took a pandemic to halt progress after the release of their third album ‘Altogether’ in 2019. That album had seen the band move into a more soulful space than the rawer alt-rock of 2015’s ‘Peripheral Vision’ and, to some extent 2017’s ‘Good Nature’. Now, three years since their last full release, Turnover are back and continuing their evolution with a fresh, DIY approach that reverberates throughout the entire outfit, all the way to the band’s new aesthetic owed to bassist and visual artist Dan Dempsey.

Following the album’s opener ‘Stone Street’ (a 30-second dreamy synthscape), the band glide into ‘Tears of Change’, a song which is made complete by the accomplished percussive stylings of drummer Casey Getz. The drummer’s performance here establishes a gorgeous foundation on which other textures can thrive. It’s a purposeful start to the album in the sense that it successfully sets the tone for what listeners can expect for the next 40-odd minutes.

Next up is the album’s titular track and undisputed standout hit. Featuring a stellar vocal contribution from Turnstile’s Brendan Yates, ‘Myself In The Way’ ups the pace slightly and is far funkier for it. An amalgamation of soul, disco and synth-pop, not only is this song fascinating, but it’s also a bop that can be revisited time and time again. Thematically, it’s also pivotal to the album. Directly relating to Austin Getz’s engagement with his long-term partner, the notion of not putting himself in the way of progress also transgresses into other walks of life for the frontman.

As was the case with countless artists in recent years, the global COVID-19 pandemic had a profound effect on Turnover’s approach to this record. Determined to channel his energy to affect positive change, Getz explains “instead of thinking about the things covid was taking from me I wanted to focus on what it could give me”. This manifested in a myriad of enlightenment for the artist in various forms, from meditating in a Zen Buddhist dojo to volunteering at his local fire department.

Citing The Beatles’ exploratory  ‘Magical Mystery Tour’ as a point of reference for ‘Myself In The Way’, it’s cuts like ‘Mountains Made of Clouds’ in which the influence for Turnover becomes blatant. Comparison can be drawn here between ‘Strawberry Fields Forever’ where, aside from the metaphorical imagery evoked by their titles, these two songs have a similarly ethereal and psychedelic feel. This moment on the record is especially meditative and seems to be the direct outcome of the band’s individual and collective enrichment throughout a period of severe change to life as we knew it.

When discussing the band’s fresh dynamic and approach to their music, Getz describes “classic era disco, mixed with modern synth and vocal sounds.” With 1970s Quincy Jones records another source of inspiration, one of the ways that Turnover achieved their sound is thanks to significant contributions from the likes of Justin Bartlett on ‘People That We Know’ and ‘Stone Station Reprise’. In the former of the two tracks, there is a brassy phrase that punctuates every line sung by Getz in the chorus which more than satisfies that disco itch.

It’s true that Turnover fans will likely have to undergo an adjustment period of sorts thanks to how much a departure this is from 2015’s ‘Peripheral Vision’ (which quite probably yielded the largest number of new listeners for the band to date). The heavy use of synth and other electronic elements such as vocoder and autotune (with which Getz’s voice is drenched in ‘Pleasures Galore’) could well be a turnoff for a portion of the existing audience. Of course, on the other side of the coin is the potential to garner a whole population of new fans that naturally lean towards this style of music.

Overall, ‘Myself In The Way’ will be divisive. Such is the nature of taking such a brave and transformative approach to your art. Regardless of the outcome, merit, value and inspiration should be drawn from Turnover’s latest effort. It’s a meditative exercise on what it means to enrich and evolve and, with that in mind, this will undoubtedly be an important album for plenty of people.

AARON JACKSON 

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