By Liam Menzies (@blnkclyr)
The promise of change in music can be a double edged sword. There’s the obvious benefit of keeping your audience interested and further expanding it with each venture into a new sound but there’s also the con of shooting yourself in the foot by taking baby steps towards progression.
So when dream pop colossus Turnover made the claim that they’d “definitely keep changing things up” in an interview with DIY, it was the natural reaction to take their words with a pinch of salt – hell, some of the bands who, in their own words, “keep putting out the same kind of record every few years” were the very ones they supported on tour which would make anyone a bit apprehensive.
On Good Nature, though, a breath of fresh air can be taken as brushing shoulders with these acts hasn’t had any detrimental effect on the band’s work. Turnover’s modus operandi has always been change – just take a look at the stark contrast between their debut record Magnolia and follow up Peripheral Vision, the former swimming in the emo/pop-punk water while the latter was submerged in surreal, lush sounds though still carrying a few elements of their old style. Even the subtle touches on their third LP seem to stem from things being different: over the course of the past year or so, front-man Austin Getz has turned vegan as well as moved in with his partner into unknown territory.
The new location seems to have definitely taken its tole on the album as from the get go, the sun drenched Californian intoxication one can imagine radiates from every song’s sanded down, smooth surface. Much like its accompanying music video, Super Natural feels like a blurry natural romp, surrounded by radiant guitars and lightly washed out vocals. The lyrical content also feels positively more upbeat: in Turnover of old, even the song titles felt pessimistic (e.g Cutting My Fingers Off) but even the hook on here contradicts the old melancholy laced lines, “I found my religion/ when nothing was ahead of us/ that week in California” touching on inner peace and a feeling of tranquillity backed up by the instrumentals.
These moments of blissfulness aren’t limited to the tracks they appear on. There’s a running theme throughout Good Nature of connecting with ones self and those around them, no doubt having an impact on the album’s title – “I could just take a little bit less/
I could just take it slow and be here now for a moment” utters Gets on Living Small, a seemingly self aware reference to the psychedelia both this album and their sophomore record have delivered in bucket-loads.
A simpler way of living and loving, no doubt originating from Getz’s new lifestyle, is reiterated on both Living Small as well as All That It Ever Was which precedes it. Starting off with an acoustic intro before evolving into another fluttery, bright instrumental, the start starts to dig into a wider social commentary about success and hard work. It points to an act moving on from being solely introspective to deliver a message and while blissful guitars may distract you, listen a bit more and you’ll find something that’ll resonate.
That’s not to say that Getz and co. have totally shaken off any sorrow that intrigued us on previous records. Breeze, one of the standout tracks Good Nature has to offer, is a not too subtle song about heartbreak though one that seems to touch upon the reality TV spectacles that many social media platforms seem to display: “they all want to see a show, everyone’s talking about it but they don’t know” all but confirms this, implying a situation that many will be all too familiar with.
Good Nature is an utterly gorgeous records that thankfully makes good on the promise of change by Turnover. While some songs may be a bit indistinguishable from the other sound-wise, each track is worth listening to just for the band’s ramblings about everyday-life and their new optimistic mind-set. Knowing this band, the dream-like work won’t last forever so just allow yourself to float amongst the shoe-gazy tidings while they’re around.