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RESEARCH TURTLES Reserach Turtles (2010)

Research Turtles

Research Turtles take their name from Wes Anderson's film 'The Life Aquatic'. The band evidently share the same musical tastes as the director, being influenced by the 60's, New wave and occasionally Grunge. But while this enjoyable journey through some killer riffs, finely honed harmonies and great hooks is partly a case of old wine in new bottles, the band's songs are strong enough to confirm their own identity and suggest real commercial potential.

Research Turtles have obviously done their homework. For here is a band that mines the best bits of the Brit Invasion and the subsequent American west coast melodic rock and fused it with the rockier elements of Brit Pop.

Much of the band's intensity is based on a familiar quiet/load dynamic and some killer riffs as featured on the opening 'Let's Get Carried Away'. And while Research Turtles barely hide their retro influences from The Beatles style harmonies and the occasional psychedelic overtones of the Zombies, they also incorporate some New Wave coherence on tracks such as the infectious 'Damn'.

But there's restless creativity at play, shot through with some post punk bluster giving rise to some great music crammed full of imaginative ideas. But once you come to grips with the musical antecedents and scratch beneath the surface, there are enough recurring musical elements to identity the band's own style.

The harmonies glisten on the waltz time 'Kiss Her Goodbye', while they up the ante on the flat out impressive rocking of 'Cement Floor'. Joe and Jud Norman's vocals are just about on the right side of lightweight as they conjure up some great harmonies, but only occasionally venture outside their comfort zone. But as on one of their very best songs, the two part 'Cement Floor', they don't need to extend themselves vocally as the band crank things up behind the harmonies.

Drummer Blake Thibodeaux works up a suitably raucous drum pattern with manic cymbal splashes to underscore the band's power. The Turtles even pay homage to Zeppelin with some heavy riffs and a John Bonham style drum sound on the aptly tiled 'Riff Song' which features some nicely thought out processed vocals. The tub thumping riffs and potent groove is as heavy as this band will ever get, but it's an excellent outing. And given this is The Research Turtles debut album, they are happy to showcase all their talents ranging from the poppy 'Tomorrow' to the Beatles influenced harmonies of 'Into a Hole'.

But you suspect the hard driving rocking of '925' is closer to their live show. The quality of their songs aside, the thing that probably sets aside The Turtles from many of their contemporaries is that they achieve moments of high energy, real spark and inspiration in a studio setting. In short a great first album.


Review by Pete Feenstra


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***** Out of this world | **** Pretty damn fine |
*** OK, approach with caution unless you are a fan |
** Instant bargain bin fodder | * Ugly. Just ugly

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