Turbo Fruits: Butter
The persistence of “garage rock” as a modifier for the music of Turbo Fruits is troubling. These Nashville boys don’t make “garage rock” … they just make rock ‘n’ roll. The construction and execution of a song like “Gamble Tamble” is thoughtful and considered…the song just happens to kick ass. Granted, on stage, the visceral, manic energy of Turbo Fruits imbues their music with considerable amounts of loose-limbed and wild-eyed electricity, but “garage rock” it is not. Hell, there are moments where Jonas Stein’s vocals sound far more inspired by ’80s metal than by anything that ever appeared on Crypt Records.
The same thing happened to Stein’s former band, Be Your Own Pet, and, just like with BYOP, as this band’s sound evolves beyond its earliest, spazziest tendencies, they also seem headed toward more and more normative-sounding rock ‘n’ roll. There are zero surprises on Butter, but there needn’t be any; the loping grooves and forceful riffs find Stein and the rest of the Fruits laying out archetypal sounds while injecting plenty of personality. Whether on the Southern-surf-rock of “Colt 45” or the power-pop verses of “Harley Dollar Bill$,” the band’s casual charm and rough edges make the album a joy to listen to. An unchallenging, unsurprising, and un-garage-y joy, but a joy nonetheless.