Time seems to pass slowly in the world of rock and roll. Influences linger long and every new explosive “scene” which rears its unkempt head proceeds to inspire half a decade of poorly executed pastiche and creative plundering. What I’m saying is that rock bands have a fairly obvious family tree if you care to look for it. And that is what makes The Turnback an interesting prospect. For whilst it is easy to hear the various aural building blocks from which their music is fashioned, there doesn’t seem to be any obvious footprints through which to chart their evolution. In short, they seem to be an island, set apart from fad and fashion, scene and genre. Maybe, I should have started with that!
She Had A Name is a cool piece of musical cross-pollination, of sonic gene-splicing and genre jumping. It runs on a dense, jagged and shimmering raft of guitars, grunge-like but owing little to the big short wearing perpetrators of that sound. Perhaps it is because such harder and harsher sounds are tempered with some wonderful pop sensibilities, the choruses are addictive, the “vocal riff” so genuinely simple that it is simply genius, and although it is the dark pathways that the song wanders which keeps it very much on the heavier side of the pop/rock divide, its easy ways give pop a run for its money.
So it swerves both rock cliches and pops transient ways but best of all it has depth. The lyrics might be sparse and vague but those coupled with the most excellent video actually has quite a poignant affect rather than a direct and meaningful message. I mean, I’m sure that there is an intent and message for the band who wrote it but the great thing about music is that it is less about what the broadcaster intends and more about how the receiver interprets things. And so beyond a general sense of disenfranchisement, danger, of being lost in a cruel world, anonymity (natch!) and of existing between the cracks in society, the listener is free to apply the narrative to the world as they see it and perhaps even their own lives.
I wouldn’t go as far as to say that The Turnback is writing a whole new chapter but they are certainly adding some interesting footnotes to the annals of rock and roll. There may not be anything radically genre-shifting on, nor does there need to be, but there is a wonderful ease and sense of a fresh approach being taken here. But then again, rock music has never been about finding new building blocks to use, its more often been about finding interesting new sonic architecture to build out of the ones you already have. And that is exactly what is happening on this cool and unexpectedly infectious single.