When it comes to filling in the Hall Of Fame of the most beloved emo albums of the last decade, Turnover’s Peripheral Vision is a total shoo-in. A gorgeous, often heartbreaking chronicle of a transitional, reflective period in singer Austin Getz’ life, it never shies away from putting the darkest parts of our narrator’s life under the microscope. Its introduction of shoegaze and dreampop into the traditional emo framework also made Turnover a group of trailblazers setting themselves apart from their peers, a goal they have taken on and pushed further and further with each album, culminating in the soft and sweet Good Nature and chilled-bordering-on-lounge-act Altogether. At this point, it should be a given that with a new record, Turnover will have made drastic stylistic changes, which is the case with fifth album Myself In The Way. Most notably above all else, it’s probably Turnover’s happiest record yet.
The lyrical journey across Turnover’s discography has been on an increasingly more optimistic trajectory for years now, something Myself In The Way continues. Lyrics detailing depressive slumps and the helplessness that sits alongside seeing your loved ones watch you fall apart are replaced with mission statements of open-mindedness and self-betterment. For longtime listeners, it’ll be a welcome reminder of singer Getz’ improved mental state in terms of general outlook on things, but the way it’s delivered is, for now, the furthest removed from what Turnover used to be.
Myself In The Way puts the band in the neighbourhood of someone like Tame Impala rather than their emo counterparts (a move they’ve been seeking to make for a few years now), but instead of each song being a bold, sparkling statement in the way Kevin Parker would make, Turnover’s songs amble along, so chilled that the record often feels like a glorified jam session. Gone is the mystery and effortlessness of songcraft (the following of structures and introduction of new musical parts relatively formulaic) or even trying to write a chorus that pops, the band urge the songs to come to you instead of the other way round, something difficult to do when the songs have nothing there to really stick.
The aspects of this set of tracks that do function as entry points aren’t just well-lit paths and open doors. The title track is immediately memorable for its jarring use of vocoder (something sure to alienate at least a few fans), but every aspect of its instrumental cocktail beg to be picked apart as well as experienced together. Oscillating bursts of groaning synth, toasty keyboard atmospherics, funky rhythm section, a brief (almost unnecessary) cameo from Turnstile’s Brendan Yates and the presence of an actual chorus make it one of the best things this record has to offer, though certainly not even close to a highlight of Turnover’s career.
Elsewhere, the band dabble in disco (People That We Know), cherry-picked moments of ‘90s R&B (Pleasures Galore) and even different ways of playing their own instruments (the slick guitar solo throughout Tears Of Change’s final minute, building on the hazy foundation set with the rest of the track). Looking at all these different elements is fun in the moment, but without some kind of vibe shift or definitive hook to worm its way into listeners’ brains, these songs don’t really feel like much more than mood music or at most, a musical collage.
When it comes to musical scope and references, just how far Turnover have come since their scrappier days is remarkable. Myself In The Way certainly represents a band perfectly content with who they are, where they are and what they are making, clearly continuing to put out projects for the love of doing it. That said, these new tracks are designed to serve a different purpose than the emo dream-pop of old, or even the not-too-dissimilar songs from previous album Altogether. While Myself In The Way is an easy album to respect, it drifts into the clouds, difficult to love, something Turnover have never been before.
For fans of: Seahaven, Tame Impala, Beach House
Words by Georgia Jackson
‘Myself In The Way’ by Turnover is out now on Run For Cover Records.