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Turnover - Altogether Music Album Reviews

The Virginia emo trio try to keep things as simple and accessible as possible on their fourth album. 

When they started, the Virginia trio Turnover resembled your garden-variety pop-punk outfit. Then, they morphed into dreamy emo, and then again into Pet Sounds-filtered surf rock; it seemed like they couldn’t stop evolving. Singer Austin Getz went from wallowing in dreary East Coast Decembers to whirling around beachside carousels in the final days of a Californian summer. He began to realize where he went wrong in failed romances instead of resentfully labeling his exes “meaningless lovers” in the same breath he fantasized about sleeping with them again. Like fellow latter-day emo torchbearers Joyce Manor and Touché Amoré, Turnover presented ongoing evidence of their adaptability while still remaining true to their core. On their fourth full-length, Altogether, they’ve remained loyal to producer Will Yip and label home Run for Cover; however, this record finds Turnover virtually unrecognizable.


“Chill” has always been an accurate descriptor for Turnover, but Altogether could be used in a D.A.R.E.-style campaign warning the risks of taking it too far. They’ve eviscerated any indication of their “emo-ish punk rock” roots, instead opting for a lackadaisical, stoned regurgitation of ‘80s new wave—like Talk Talk doused in CBD oil. Getz explained that in the making of this record, the band considered “people who don't have the time to delve into the niches and find fringe artists.” This album, he seems to say, is meant to go down easy, devoid of deeper implications—but Altogether winds up mostly just half-baked. In Turnover’s attempts to keep things uncomplicated and accessible, they sound anonymous and corny.

Take “Still in Motion,” a perfectly adequate album opener if it weren’t introduced with a wildly over-the-top trumpet solo. “Number On the Gate” could be a pretty good B-side to Good Nature; it pops up about midway through the record, as if to offer one last reminder of “oh, yeah, this is a Turnover album,” before the remaining bloodless tracks scrub your memory clean. The band can write hooks; At their gigs, Peripheral Vision highlights like “Cutting My Fingers Off” conjure mosh pits and singalongs even amid their relaxed atmosphere, while Good Nature opener “Super Natural” begs to be hummed while completing house chores. But hardly anything could be deemed catchy here, with refrains too monotonous to stick. Even when Turnover try spicing things up with congas, a violin, and a couple of ill-fitting saxophone features, Altogether tastes incredibly vanilla, like a playlist of department store slow jams.

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This blandness would be excusable if Getz backed it up with compelling lyricism, but his words are typically underdeveloped at their best—at their worst, they induce eye rolls. He details his reluctance to going out on “Parties,” but once he sees his date’s “body move just the way that it should,” he’s suddenly fine with the shallow social interactions the party entails. On “Ceramic Sky,” he sings of “Waiting to feel the tingling of your lips/Sedative in your touch,” a line too nonsensical to be sexy. “Have you been through the things I have?/Did you lose your trust or feel betrayed?” he argues on “Number on the Gate,” sounding like the dude who complains about his “crazy ex” before ghosting you. Getz’s trifling depictions of women and inconsequential, clunky ideas—”I don’t mean to make you feel lonely/When I’m feeling like I have no reply”—amount to a record that hardly dips below surface level.

In their vision for Altogether, Turnover shot themselves in the foot at the get-go. They hoped for an album that was simple, but the banality that manifested instead was a pretty inevitable side effect. “We wanted to keep in mind...music for those of us who are busy with work or our families or whatever problems might be around,” Getz said. “Music is real magic that can change people's days and lives, and the more people listening and loving, the better.” Maybe he wasn’t planning to change lives with this album, but to make art catered to people who are presumably too preoccupied to fully digest it is a pretty careless and patronizing method of operation.


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