With the band’s heavy, fuzzy, hard rock sound, Turbowolf is gathering momentum, attracting due worldwide acclaim. The British act’s latest release, Two Hands, contains 11 tracks of rock music, each song additionally colored through invocation of various subgenres.
Big notes, commanding melodies, biting hooks… this album is not shy. It gets right into one’s face and ears, demanding attention through both bombast and contrast. And it is fun. Many of the songs are within the magic four minute mark: radio-friendly length. Turbowolf seemingly effortlessly combine elements of punk, desert rock, hard rock, and even some progressive or heavy metal into something that’s accessible and enjoyable. Both songcraft and musicianship really cause this band to shine.
Energetic, thick, warm riffs and tones come from guitarist Andy Ghosh and bassist Lianna Lee Davies respectively. With a deep, full mix, neither drowns out the remainder of their band. All instruments remain nicely audible. Tantalizing keyboard and synth work from vocalist Chris Georgiadis shines especially during “Solid Gold” and “Rich Gift”. Georgiadis also possesses a nice vocal range, with confident delivery, attitudinal inflection and even tone. Drummer Blake Davies reaches some of his craftier, more punctuated moments during “Invisible Hand”, “Solid Gold”, and “Twelve Houses”. Songs like “Good Hand” and “Rich Gift” have devices about halfway through that serve to relax or break the tempo, adding interest and texture, allowing them to rebuild any tension they just released.
The album begins and ends with pleasurable, clean notes. “Invisible Hand” has a lovely, slow-building introduction, which reveals a fast, audacious, very punk-infused tune. The song exits too quickly; at least the slinky groove draws one in immediately. An in-concert crowd pleaser, “Rabbit’s Foot” features some of the more funky flavor on the disc. As with the bulk of the album which follows, the lyrics have a broad appeal and resonate easily with most fans. Here, listeners are reminded of those times they’ve pined for divine intervention. Georgiadis cries for outside intercession: “I need some kind of voodoo, I need some kind of love.” A strange and brief instrumental vignette, “Toy Memaha” recalls amateur instruments within a carnivallic milieu. The melodic, mid-tempo, chunky “Nine Lives” features an odd percussion sound which sometimes emulates cowbell or jam block, but at other times sounds like a click track. “MK Ultra” could be the record’s ballad, if one were looking for an imaginary mandatory ‘slower or mellower tune’. “Twelve Houses” features some of the best quirky juxtapositions or jagged idea melds on disc. “Pale Horse”, the album’s closer, is a bit more relaxed and flowing. It features a real hip-swinging tempo, a huge, catchy riff, and a slightly off-kilter guitar solo.
As with the band’s eponymous debut, the main flaw with Two Hands is that at least some of the songs end too quickly. The band builds fantastic momentum and anticipation, only to lose it through brevity.
Two Hands is just a little twisted: it’s not so esoteric as to be inaccessible, nor so bland that it becomes uninteresting. A fraction of the positive attention granted to heavier bands-in-the-now like Royal Blood is due here from fans of well-performed, enjoyable, slightly eclectic hard rock. Given their bent for just off the beaten path songwriting, Turbowolf has some real staying power.