TURBONEGRO: Scandinavian Leather: CD

Goddamn, this is hard. I put these guys on the cover. I waited five years to do an interview with them. They’ve been a top favorite of mine going on eight years, right after Ass Cobra pinned my ears back. When Apocalypse Dudes first came out, I didn’t like it. Turbonegro deals in dramatic shifts that only become obvious after a little bit of perspective. Three months after first getting it, Apocalypse Dudes became attached to the record player for a year straight, and, to this day, is permanently on the high rotation shelf. Put it this way, as you many give faith to sports, religion, or youth crews for guidance, I have faith in Turbonegro to be the band that cracks my ear open. Who knew that they’d be my gateway to no-suck arena rock that I’d dismissed as purely cock posturing? They did. And so when I first heard Scandinavian Leather, I listened without judgement because when they played these songs live, they pretty much ruled. When I popped in the CD, I was ready for a continuation of the trajectory away from Negative Approach towards The Sweet. Yet, there were things I associate with the band that I full-heartedly expected. Deathpunk. The genre they invented. Granted, I’m talking from only thirty spins, but I’m sort of disappointed. There seems to be a shaving off of some of the snarl, of the danger, of the over-the-top erections and ripped anuses. In those emptied places are David Bowie-like flourishes that are more pretty and radio-friendly than aggressive or stupefyingly great. (The “Intro: The Blizzard of Flames” sounds like something Peter Gabriel wrote.) I find myself singing along less. But, I’m not giving up. Turbonegro has this microscopic spore-like quality. All they need is one vulnerable cell to infect, then it’s all over. My fingers are still crossed that my ears get split wide open once again.

 –todd (Epitaph)