Review: Turnstile – Time & Space

The reason that Turnstile’s ‘Nonstop Feeling’ was praised to the extent it was is because it was a monumental breath of fresh air for a rapidly stagnating hardcore scene, taking the basement-dwelling pound of the ’80s and pairing it with the vibrant experimentation that characterised pretty much all of ’90s alt-rock. The result was the sort of colourful shot in the arm that hardcore had been desperately crying out for, and set Turnstile right at the top of the pile in terms of what modern hardcore should be.

But why stop there? Why not throw even more dissonant genres into the pot? Why not recruit Sheer Mag vocalist Tina Halladay to lend some backing vocals? And why not get Diplo onboard for some additional production? The amount that’s actually here on paper is so close to being farcical, and gives the impression that ‘Time & Space’ shouldn’t be half as good as it actually is. But that’s the thing – Turnstile know what they’re doing, and by primarily sticking to their strengths as a hardcore band, they’ve come out with another exemplary album of how this sort of sonic fusion is done.

The fact that so much has been thrown into this album is no reason to be daunted either; they’re only here to provide support to a punk and hardcore framework that remains as sturdy as ever. Tracks such as ‘High Pressure’ and ‘Right To Be’ would stand just fine as hardcore songs on their own, just with smatterings of keys and synths from some extra spice. On the other side of the coin, ‘Real Thing’ and ‘Moon’ exemplify the importance of melody for this album, keeping the crunch and weight intact while filtering it through a punk lens. It’s a similar approach that’s taken with pretty much all of the album, making sure whichever direction taken arrives at the same endpoint to keep it as tight and concise as possible.

And besides the two interludes ‘Bomb’ and ‘Disco’, two short pieces of easy listening that offer barely anything, ‘Time & Space’ achieves that. It’s effectively hardcore boiled down to its purest form of trading off energy and aggression, but kept interesting with a bit more colour to keep it going. Turnstile certainly know the best way to keep hardcore thriving, and it’s ultimately difficult to see how the genre could progress past this point without drastically changing the playing field. Once again, Turnstile are holding on to hardcore’s gold standard.

4/5

‘Time & Space’ by Turnstile is released on 23rd February on Roadrunner Records.

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Words by Luke Nuttall (@nuttall_luke)

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