Tuesday, February 2, 2010
Research Turtles - Research Turtles
SCQ Rating: 67%
Some curious things drop into the SCQ Inbox from time to time. Take that near-anonymous email I received in mid-November which featured a link to some press and the casual, “ever-heard-of-‘em” query. Clicking the link led me to a Canadian column aptly titled Don’t Believe A Word I Say where author Bob Segarini had launched a passionate, bizarrely profanity-laced lovefest over Research Turtles and insisted these Lousiana lads were the “next big thing”. Against my first impulses, I won’t make arguing Segarini’s Beatles-comparisons the goal of this review and instead emphasize my in-hindsight bewilderment that, when asked whether these guys were on my radar, I had to admit I’d never heard of them.
The radio, in its current incarnation, could use more of Research Turtles’ fresh-faced, irony-free rock and roll, the kind where catchy riffs and every-dude vocals have an honest shot of airplay without the 21st century leverage known as celebrity-dating or scandalous first-single subject-matter. And these guys should be landing record contracts not simply because they’re mold-able and posse-less (although they clearly are), but because the best of this self-titled debut has the pop-chops to challenge any of modern-rock’s meat ‘n’ potatoes. Their approach to songwriting, as witnessed in the unfurling electric chords of ‘Break My Fall’ and chunky riffs of ‘Damn’, is undeniably classic, as rooted in the 60s Brit Invasion as early 90s, pre-grunge indie. That such strict attention is paid to rocking out (albeit in a very clean-cut, polite way) while avoiding the trappings of teenage tumultuousness seems almost revolutionary by today’s standards, and delivers straightforward gems like ‘Cement Floor’ and ‘Let’s Get Carried Away’. To think, a rock band making rocking out, like, a priority or something…
Standout tracks aside, the radio could equally use Research Turtles’ weaker tracks (let’s face it: the radio needs any enema it can find…) because even this debut’s most vacuous moments are genuinely well-intentioned. The Ramones rip-off ‘Mission’ is so openly a Ramones rip-off that you’d forgive it, if only it didn’t also sound like a thousand Disney movie-trailers. Other can’t-fault-‘em attempts can be pinned in ‘Kiss Her Goodbye’ - a paint-by-numbers break-up song - and ‘Into a Hole’, which finds Research Turtles playing a half-hearted Weezer cover-band. Despite their transparent stumbles, I’d still prefer hearing Research Turtles monopolize the airwaves with pure, well-trodden rock than half the self-indulgent tripe we’re currently stuck with. Sadly, the only thing keeping these kids from joining radio’s figureheads is a press-angle and a fashion-consultant.