Ah, the maturity record. The one in which the quick-witted snark about wild adventures and consciously dumb decisions evolves into pensive rumination about real-time relationships and how sometimes it kinda sucks being a functional adult.
After seven years as a band, Nashville garage rockers Turbo Fruits have finally reached that point. Gone are the 45s emblazoned with pot leaf album art and 7”s pressed on “Sunshine Acid” wax. Instead, even though the deluxe vinyl edition of the band’s newest LP No Control comes with rolling papers, they’re pictured atop a bushel of sage as if their purpose was to burn and clear the bad juju from the scene. Likewise, the songs on No Control trade titles like “Mama’s Mad Cos I Fried My Brain” (off 2009’s debut Echo Kid) or the opening assertion of sticking distasteful nuisances “Where The Sun Don’t Shine” (from 2012’s Butter) for pleas for authenticity like “Show Me Something Real.”
And so No Control represents a brave motion toward independence, rather than impertinence. The band members financed the record by themselves (with a little bit of help from The Black Keys’ drummer Patrick Carney, who also produced a couple of tracks) and singer and bandleader Jonas Stein, originally of Be Your Own Pet, sobered up for a spell. Tracks like the alcoholic confessional “Friends” stand alongside the loneliness and heartache that relentless touring and partying yields on tracks like “Don’t Let Me Break Your Heart Again” and “No Reason To Stay.”
But the most surprising element of Turbo Fruits’ new record is that No Control sounds ironically meticulous. Instead of the frenetic tempos and sloppy solos surely improvised after a swig of whiskey, the entire tempo of the record remains steady throughout the record. The rhythm guitar plods determinedly while the lead provides carefully curated accents. If Turbo Fruits are trying to shed their partying ways and reputation, No Control undoubtedly represents that conscious effort. However, its execution doesn’t stray too far from the established maturity narrative.