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Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Turbines - Last Dance Before Highway

Name: Turbines
Album: Last Dance Before Highway
Year: 1985
Style: Garage, Surf
Similar Bands: Gringo Star, Shadowy Men on a Shadowy Planet, B-52's
One Word Review: New England surfboard with spurs.
Based Out Of: Boston, MA
Label: Big Time Records America
 Last Dance Before Highway - Cover & Record
Last Dance Before Highway - Back & Record
Last Dance Before Highway (1985)
  1. Skull & Crossbones 2:17
  2. That's the Way 3:21
  3. Highway 51 1:57
  4. Slop 3:34 /
  5. Wah-Hey 2:38
  6. Throw It Down 2:44
  7. Rock in My Pocket 3:37
  8. Hangin' Tough 2:57
Album Rating (1-10): 7.5

Members & Other Bands:
Jack Hickey - Rhythm & Lead Guitar (Lyres, DMZ)
John Hovorka - Vox, Guitar (2x4's)
Fred Nazzaro - Drums, (The Titanics)
David Shibler - Bass (Charlie Pickett & Eggs, UZI)
Brent Robin - Cover Design
Wayne Podworny - Band Photos
Fred Giannelli - Producer (Psychic TV)
Mark LeMaire - Mix Engineer
Rob Dimit - Engineer
Jeff Whitehead - Engineer

Unknown-ness: Never heard of this band. Based on the logo and cover, I imagine it has some energy to it, and is seeded in new wave. Possibly rockabilly based on the band image on the back. 1985 is not a reliable year, but the angular highway lines on the artwork, and the yellow relief are potential positive signs.

Album Review: Classified as a rust-belt obsessed twangy garage rock band, the Turbines had a total of 2 albums, and never made it in popularity outside of the Boston area, despite having blurb album reviews in both Spin & Billboard magazines. The whole album has the surf guitars turned up above the vocals, giving it an almost live feel, and the vocals come off as a little drunk, perhaps.Or at least like a sloppy Pulp Fiction Soundtrack contribution

“Skull & Crossbones” is a cover from a 1956 b-side from a singer named Sparkle Moore. It starts off with deep, nasally vocals with an echo, and twangy surf rock guitar. The melody is like a deconstructed “Hound Dog.” The vocals are not really sung, but forcefully and slightly melodically spoken.
“That's the Way” feels like a Shadowy Men on a Shadowy Planet song at the beginning. The art-like vocals are like a deeper Fred Schneider from B-52’s, which is not far off in genera with the guitar centric songs. There is a fake-ending, and the song repeats for about another minute.
“Highway 51” is the cover of the Curtis Jones, made famous by Bob Dylan. It sounds like it is right out of Pulp Fiction, almost 10 years later.
“Slop” is a shuffling, train chugging song, with percussion baring most of the weight to carry the song along. The surf guitar fills in sections solo, and rings out behind the chorus. A harmonica is added into the mix toward the middle.

“Wah-Hey” was a single. The song starts with an echoing bass line that carries the basic melody that the vocals follow. The chorus is a build-up of the “Wah”…and is punctuated with the “hey!” from the background singers. There is a little Devo in the bass line.
“Throw It Down” carries with it a strong punk tempo (sounding a lot like Violent Femmes Prove My Love) and style filtered through the surf-tinted instruments. It has a great energy and staggered vocals that sounds like an almost live production, as the vocals are mixed far behind the instrument (minus the fade out at the end).
“Rock in My Pocket” is slightly- and I mean slightly- slower tempo, but it is generally more of the same.
“Hangin' Tough” has an “I Fought the Law” melody to it in the verse, yet again, filtered through extra loud surf guitars. The chorus does not continue the familiar melody, but takes the song in its own direction, albeit, not as catchy.

Stand Out Track: Throw It Down


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