The Lowdown: After earning well-deserved buzz with their 2018 sophomore album, Time & Space, Baltimore’s Turnstile continue their sonic evolution on their new genre-defying effort, Glow On. It would be easy to just call Turnstile a hardcore band, but that only scratches the surface of the music that this adventurous quintet creates.
The Good: Fans of Turnstile’s hardcore roots are treated to their fair share of heavy tracks on Glow On, but those songs are balanced with melodic alt-rock tunes that shine just as brightly. A handful of the songs on Glow On also appeared on the Turnstile Love Connection EP that preceded the full-length by two months, one of which is the infectious leadoff track “Mystery.” A candidate for best rock song of the year, “Mystery” roars with a Nirvana-like guitar riff and a soaring chorus from singer Brendan Yates.
Standout tracks like “Blackout” and “Holiday” bring the heavy yet still embrace melody, while the band’s penchant for experimentation manifests itself on tunes like the ambient “Alien Love Call” (featuring UK singer Blood Orange) and the beautiful 45-second “No Surprise” (sung by bassist Franz Lyons). Throughout the hook-laden album, Turnstile welcome groove and rhythm, while expanding their musical palette to include shoegaze, R&B, and even a little Bruno Mars-like reggae-pop on “New Heart Design” — yet the band’s intensity and hardcore spirit never wanes.
The Bad: While the musical experimentation on Glow On is a very welcome step for Turnstile, fans looking for a full hardcore sonic assault may be put off by the genre-jumping from track to track. However, after few spins, the album is much more cohesive than it appears to be on first listen.
The Verdict: Turnstile have already built a devoted following with their previous releases and legendary high-energy live shows, but Glow On takes them to a new level. It’s a fearless album that doesn’t bow to genre conventions, establishing Turnstile as the present and future of rock music.
Essential Tracks: “Mystery,” “Blackout,” “Holiday,” “No Surprise”