Friday, September 28, 2007

Review: Turbo Fruits

Label: Ecstatic Peace

Released: July 17, 2007

Most of Turbo Fruits' self-titled album's strengths and weaknesses can be summarized by simply reviewing one song, their cover of the MC5's cover of "Ramblin' Rose." Both versions attempt to release enormous energy on the listener in the same way that an atomic bomb releases it's energy on a target. It takes a smaller explosion to create the exponentially larger one. The trick with the music as with the bomb is for the small explosion to keep it together to reach critical mass and detonate the real blast. The MC5, live, on the first track of their first album, are like freakin' Oppenheimer. They walk that very dangerous line, not sure that they can control the process, but they do and the result is brighter than a thousand suns. Turbo Fruits on the other hand have the energy of the small explosion, a pedestrian, conventional energy, an energy that has been harnessed and used for simple purposes by countless bands. But they never reach critical mass before everything breaks down, the real explosion never goes off and, next to the MC5's atomic bomb, theirs doesn't just pale, it's as imperceptible as a firecracker.

Luckily, most of the album doesn't have to live up to the MC5, but that doesn't change what Turbo Fruits do well and do poorly. Often the songs are loose to the point of floundering, because few of them have enough substance to keep the music on even a meandering path. A few do have moments that get into a groove and "Volcano" adds some quirky stops, making me wonder why they didn't focus on being a little odd rather than just being unrestrained. They do try to infuse the music with a lot of energy, but they're not strong enough as either players or writers to split musical atoms.

Rating: 4/10



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