Hardcore isn’t exactly known for its versatility, particularly in the genre’s classic forms which would be far more content to serve out a quick kerbstomp than really change the record. That’s why Turnstile’s 2015 debut Nonstop Feeling was showered in the acclaim that it was, a hardcore album that remained entrenched in the hyper-amped pummeling of the ’80s, but was never afraid to stray into ’90s punk and alt-rock to bring some colour to the proceedings. The fact that it went down as well as it did is a testament to the potency of what Turnstile brought to the table, and landing tours with both Superheaven and New Found Glory saw a band casting their net out to distances that virtually no one had attempted prior. With music becoming more and more metropolitan in approach, especially in rock, Turnstile were flying the flag for doing it the right way.
So here comes Time & Space, effectively serving as a continuation of Nonstop Feeling in ethos, and still showing that they can pull off their level of creativity in spectacular fashion. After all, what other hardcore band would lend vocal duties to their bassist for a mid-tempo punk track backed by Sheer Mag vocalist Tina Halladay? Or feature multiple passages of smooth ambience that closer to lounge jazz than anything else? Or how about augment a rather typical hardcore track with swirling keyboard lines courtesy of Diplo of all people? The reason that this actually works is because Turnstile know exactly what their limits are; Diplo might be on Right To Be but he’s not going to drop any club beats in a hurry, because Turnstile are a hardcore band first and foremost. Compared to a band like Fall Out Boy who try to cram metric tonnes of sounds and bluster into about one pound’s worth of song and end up falling flat on their faces, Turnstile have a clearer idea of what their aiming for, and Time & Space remains a leaner, sharper album as a result.
It wouldn’t seem out of the question to call this a streamlined album either. There’s not an ounce of fat here, and at about twenty-five minutes, it doesn’t outstay its welcome but still offers a full, satisfying listen. There’s a pounding energy to the likes of (Lost Another) Piece Of My World and Come Back For More / H.O.Y that’s as wiry and bug-eyed as it filled with muscular riffs, and Brendan Yates’ yelps only crank up the viciousness even more. Conversely, I Don’t Wanna Be Blind opts for a deliberate, grunge-inspired creep, and the melody in Moon behind bassist Franz Lyons’ impressively rich cleans almost verges on pop-punk. The command of melody on this album is excellent, and working in tandem with the outwardly abrasive hardcore elements ensures that Time & Space almost always has the ideal amount of each.
Really, the only complaint comes in the two interludes Bomb and Disco, in that they don’t really need to be here but they’re short enough for it not to be a major hindrance. Otherwise, Turnstile have pretty much set the standard for hardcore in 2018 – violent, vibrant and with a glint in its eye that shows it’s not taking itself too seriously. Even as far the scope of what’s on offer is pretty much perfect with regards to the length. It’s difficult to see hardcore getting much better than this in 2018, and Turnstile will only keep jumping from strength to strength if this is how they’re going to continue.
For fans of: Snapcase, Trapped Under Ice, No Warning
Words by Luke Nuttall
‘Time & Space’ by Turnstile is out now on Roadrunner Records.