Before you start reading this, you can stream the new record, Time & Space, here.
The definition of true ‘’hardcore’’ has always been strongly contested. Are we referring to the original punk stalwarts of the 70’s and 80’s such as Blag Flag and Agnostic Front? Or the straight edge ‘’youth crew’’ bands which spilt over into the early 90’s such as Chain of Strength and Turning Point? Or are we actually talking about an intangible spirit that will always be evolving, forever pushing against the grain so long as there are enough kids out there who declare an unwavering NO upon conformity? For Turnstile, a five-piece of close friends with a fierce and long-lived love for hardcore, it’s most certainly the latter.
“Members of these bands have crafted their art and are now showcasing their ‘pièce de résistance.”
It’s as if there’s something in the water in Baltimore, Ohio and DC. Every project that emerges from these crucibles of two-step driven delight seems to make more than just an impression on hardcore – they create a bluntly forced cavity within music as a whole. Over the last decade, we’ve seen bands like Trapped Under Ice and Angel Du$t cement their legacy. Members of these bands have crafted their art and are now showcasing their ‘pièce de résistance.’
There are few bands that can attest to the long-lived cult following that Turnstile are enjoying. These days, so many musical units fade into the obscurity of formulaic genre labels because they didn’t usher in the change that we so desperately needed. Turnstile are the much welcomed breath of fresh air in an otherwise saturated musical landscape.
“The Red Hot Chilli’s of hardcore make you want to break dance and spin on your head whilst simultaneously smashing through everyone in your path…”
But what is it that separates Turnstile from the rest? For the last few years, and no doubt for years to come, Turnstile have established themselves as a beacon of psychedelic relief, ushering in a new era of funk driven punk that will wash over your every sense like a candy coloured rainbow bath that packs a hell of a punch when it wants to. One second you’re vibing to contoured ‘’wah wah’’ drive guitars, and the next you’re galvanized into an abrupt frenzy by overdriven guitars and furious pedals. Sometimes both at the same time. The Red Hot Chilli’s of hardcore make you want to break dance and spin on your head whilst simultaneously smashing through everyone in your path.
What really makes Turnstile a game changer is the way they have considered every nuance of their art. The non-stop movement in their music is only one layer of many. The release of the music video for lead single ‘Real Thing’ is a true video accompaniment to their sound. We are treated to an embodiment of the Turnstile spirit by way of a bizarre beach gathering beneath a rotating disco ball which is almost reflective of the Woodstock flower power movement of the 60’s and 70’s. Intertwined between these shots are segments of bassist and backing vocalist ‘’Freaky’’ Franz Lyons playing bass whilst wearing a white suit and a smile you just can’t take away from him, and why would you? It’s funny that members of Turnstile are straight edge, considering their presentation sometimes encapsulates the heights of an acid trip.
As with most bands who garner public attention, the true way to experience Turnstile is in the live setting. Due to their dynamic sound, they have been invited to tour with anyone from pop-punk titans The Story So Far, to British grunge revivers Basement, and legendary metal outfit Killswitch Engage. Such tour slots indicate that Turnstile have immense crossover appeal. Their live shows are a delightful melting pot of forward-surging crowds, finger pointing, serial stage divers and spin kicks to the face if you dare enter the pit.
As the number one hardcore band in the world right now, we will no doubt see Turnstile on some insane lineups and festival circuits over the touring cycle of the much awaited new record. If the future of hardcore is to shapeshift as much as it’s punk origins, then it’ll be Turnstile setting it’s path.
Time & Space is out Friday 23rd February via Roadrunner Records.
WORDS: DON SPENCER