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Turpentine Brothers - We Don't Care About Your Good Times (Cover Artwork)

Turpentine Brothers

Turpentine Brothers: We Don't Care About Your Good TimesWe Don't Care About Your Good Times (2005)
Alive Records

Reviewer Rating: 4.5


Contributed by: adamAdam
(others by this writer | submit your own)

There are plenty of blues songs about a person's sense of destiny. That manifests itself in some cases as a righteous bravado, at other times as a sorrowful introspection, seeking redemption. -- Yet there's no redemption for the Turpentine Brothers. Theirs feels like the soundtrack of a man clearly .
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There are plenty of blues songs about a person's sense of destiny. That manifests itself in some cases as a righteous bravado, at other times as a sorrowful introspection, seeking redemption. -- Yet there's no redemption for the Turpentine Brothers. Theirs feels like the soundtrack of a man clearly on the long road to hell. There's no salvation waiting, but if he can sneer and swagger the entire way down it'll be worth it.1

It seems appropriate to craft dramatic passages about this Boston three-piece. There's something about their mix of punk defiance, 60's soul and garage sleaze that's so well-suited for storytelling. Their cumulated efforts have resulted in such a sense of character, such a striking attitude, that what may very well be a side project feels like the most important band on the planet while the record's spinning.

Turpentine Brothers is the brainchild of guitarist Justin Hubbard of the Kings of Nuthin' and drummer Tara McManus of Mr. Airplane Man. While the duo started off moonlighting old country standards, their creation soon became something comparable to Reigning Sound, the Mystery Girls and the Deadly Snakes. Integral to their current sound is the swirling, wild organ work of Zack Brines (a King of Nuthin' himself). While ably filling out the band's low end with a foreboding drone he manages to contribute striking, song-stealing solos that push Turpentine Brothers to another level entirely. Those that compare him to the Doors' Ray Manzarek are certainly on the right track.2

The sound works so well because the band's drawing from a far deeper and more interesting well of history than their peers. It's easy to have a sleazy garage band that sounds like the Stooges, but less so the vintage Stax R&B sounds found here. This is most obvious in the album's three covers. The first is of "Fool For You," a Curtis Mayfield tune from his days with Chicago soul group the Impressions. Hubbard's take is spirited and lively, but there's a tortured quality to his vocals that make the chorus work in this context. Midway though the record the band delivers a cut written by Texas bluesman Charles Brown, and the distorted wall raised behind "I Wanna Be Close" would fit well on a Black Keys record. Most strikingly, the band turns Chris Clark's Motown standard "Love's Gone Bad" into a stomping, sleazy garage tune. These covers all seamlessly fit the band's lyrical themes and they rightfully filter and interpret, rather than mimic, the artists' original work.

Speaking of originals, the Brothers' own tunes are no slough. The album kicks off with the hard-hitting pair of "People Are Talkin'" and "Something's Not Right" before delving into the haunting and soulful "Why Can't I Do." The instrumental "Wrong Night" features an earthy country guitar, and perhaps some of the most vintage-sounding moments on the record. The chorus to "All The Same" is fascinating, featuring that same anti-climactic buildup that the Strokes so often lift from Television and the Velvets. "One Man" is a mournful tune, somewhat of a murder ballad, that closes off with a harshly distorted guitar solo and some well placed, gloomy trumpet. This song leads into the title track, which (quite effectively) carries the sorrowful tone on for a few seconds only to explode into a fast, upbeat punk song. It's a brilliant buildup to a fantastic tune, and "We Don't Care About Your Good Times" lets Hubbard and Brines break into a few choice solos over McManus now raging backbeat. Considering how it's sequenced on the record, it's a breathtaking track.

Turpentine Brothers have delivered a remarkable record with We Don't Care About Your Good Times, one that feels like some great unearthed gem: the bastard lovechild of 60's soul and Nuggets proto-punk. Yet for all this, there's something very real going on here, something deeply rooted but not quite revivalist. This is growth and development in a genre that so often looks back instead of ahead.

1 - I deeply and sincerely apologise for that introduction. I admit it's not very good, but I just couldn't let it go.
2 - I could care less about the Doors and the pseudo-intellectual cult of dolts that worship at the corpse of Jim Morrison, but let's face the truth: Manzarek's organ leads in "Light My Fire" from around 1:07 to, oh, 3:15 are among the cooler moments of rock'n'roll ever recorded.

 

 
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Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
gladimnotemo (March 6, 2005)

" Ray was a hack sellout."

...but he produced the first three X records. To me, anything wrong is forgiven.

The mp3s I have of this are great. I really need to order a lot from Bomp!/Disaster/Alive when I have the cash.

BrandonSideleau (March 6, 2005)

Never heard of this band. But regardless, Jim Morrison was one great frontman, Ray was a hack sellout.

Anchors (March 6, 2005)

I honestly didn't know who that Akimbo song was refrencing until now. I had no clue who that dude was.

Anonymous (March 6, 2005)

ray manzarek can go fuck himself. you wanna talk about dolts worshipping the corpse of jim, at least they arent raping his legacy to make a buck like manzarek. oh yeah, and those organ parts get really fucking annoying quickly.

Medley (March 5, 2005)

I didn't read the review, but I liked seeing those footnotes there. Score is for the footnotes.

Anonymous (March 5, 2005)

those mp3s sound pretty good. apparently they're playing around my neighborhood soon...i'll try to catch them.

Psychoos231 (March 4, 2005)

I just checked out the two mp3s on their site. very fuckin awesome.

Anonymous (March 4, 2005)

I enjoy Kings of Nuthin' so i might check this out.

adam (March 4, 2005)

"Footnotes? With all the bashing of Pitchforkmedia on this site, its funny to see the staff trying to write witty reviews in the vein of Pitchfork. Not saying Pitchfork is my favorite site or anything, just a casual observation."

You read the review right? with the exception of said footnotes (which I admit are pretty silly anyways) it wasn't a "witty review" nor was it trying to be.

...and I really don't mind Pitchfork myself. I don't agree with them all the time yet I still read them daily.

-adam

Anonymous (March 4, 2005)

Pitchfork does not write witty reviews, they write history lessons. I'm not complaining, though. ITs always nice to learn something new about music.

If you want a funny reviews/news/etc. check out tinymixtapes.com. Especially if you loathe "pretention" (sic) that comes with Pitchfork.

Anonymous (March 4, 2005)

They ain't too bad. I like the Deadly Snakes and Reigning Sound both a lot more.

Anonymous (March 4, 2005)

Footnotes? With all the bashing of Pitchforkmedia on this site, its funny to see the staff trying to write witty reviews in the vein of Pitchfork. Not saying Pitchfork is my favorite site or anything, just a casual observation.

Anonymous (March 4, 2005)

props to the footnotes

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