|Research Turtles - Part 2|
Research Turtles – Mankiller Part 2 (Normanium Records)
Louisiana. A state built on swamps, deltas and Kid Rock wrestling with alligators on a stoop to the sound of banjo music. So it’s a little surprising when out of the swamp comes the slick, melodic pop-rock of Research Turtles. Obscure name side, these guys have developed a sound that is reminiscent of Redd Kross or the Feeling with the campness dialled down and with less of a Queen obsession. At just 6 tracks ‘Mankiller Part 2’ genuinely presents the second half of an album in an intriguing approach to releasing music in the digital age (or maybe just a solution to getting music in to the public domain while it’s still fresh and not finding yourself in crippling debt to pay for studio time). It’s no great surprise, then, that opener ‘Guy Like Me’ sounds just like the kind of low-key, lo-fi track you would find in the middle of an album with Dandy Warhol’s-esque strummed acoustic guitar provided the bed for spaced out keys and drawled vocals. ‘The Fancy’ is an altogether more upbeat affair with frontman and bassist Jud Norman doing his best sleazy rock voice over the top of polished indie-rock riffs.
For a band that openly extol the greats of the bygone British music scene, Research Turtles have seemingly fused together the Beach Boys’ harmonies and the groove of bands like Weezer to create some genuinely fun romps, such as ‘Break It Up’. ‘Space’ gives more than a nod to the grunge era and the line “I’m temporarily away in space” is just begging to be sung back at the band on a dark, sweaty night. In fact, the more you listen to this album, the more you realise how much musicality and genuine songwriting talent the quartet possess. ‘Into You’ is a jerky, bouncy indie-pop bundle of innocent teen love that would probably be a smash hit worldwide in the hands of One Direction but thank God it’s not in their hands! People often accuse me of not liking pop music but I am a huge fan of good, well written pop and this is it. And to finish up is the slacker, shuffle-pop of ‘What Can I Say?’ which is dripping in the Lemonheads, Teenage Fanclub and too many 90s Britpop bands to mention (oh go on then, just for fun, Octopus, Lush, Shack etc). I don’t know whether it was intended this way but listening to the second half of this album has made me really want to hear the first half because if Part 2 is this good then must be fantastic right? I mean, sequels are never as good as the originals right?