The greatest denim wearing, coke snorting, alcohol abusing, glittered up supergroup to come out of Europe are back, with the incredible followup to Scandanavian Leather and the third editon to the Apocalypse series. It is entitled, rather appropriately and seemingly autobiographically, Party Animals.
The story of the Norwegian natives Turbonegro is one of true rock'n'roll epic status (sorta). They formed in the mid-nineties and released two of the decade's greatest releases: Ass Cobra in '96, and Apocalypse Dudes in '98, the first chapter of the Apocalypse series. Soon after, while on tour in Italy, drug addicted singer Hank Von Helvete has a mental breakdown and is admitted to the hospital. The band breaks up. After being released, Von Helvete has a well deserved break from his former lifestyle and goes to live with his grandparents, leading a relatively normal life. Meanwhile, his ex-band members were all busy with various side projects, none of which were even comparable to TN. This trend continues for a couple of years. Then in 2002, after a brief but incredibly popular stint under the name Turbojugend, the singer returns and Turbonegro are ressurected. They release Scandanavian Leather in 2003 (the second of the Apoc. series), and it certainly was worth the wait. The album was well received from fans and critics alike. At this time, they are undeniably the greatest rock'n'roll band on the planet, so where to go from there...?
The clock strikes 2005, and the denim is out once more.
When reviewing an album like this, being as it is the third chapter of a series, I felt it were necessary to have it compared and contrasted to the first two. And who better to explain the evolution (although that's not the appropraiate word in this case) than band member himself 'Happy' Tom, who says this: "The first was 'Apocalypse Dudes,' which was about sex and pizza. 'Scandanavian Leather' was the second one; that was about nature and survival. Now the third one is 'Party Animals' and it's about war!" Need an elaboration? Well, here's my view on things.
Gone are the lyrics of homo-eroticism which the first albums were riddled with; they have been replaced by those of getting wasted and totally fucking shit up (see "Death From Above"). There is no maturity lyrically for the band; for them, it's all about having a good time. Musically however, Party Animals is a step up for the band. Turbonegro have incorporated a few new techniques into their songs for a fresher sound. The transistions range from "deathpunk," a term which the band created for themselves, to classic rock "City Of Satan," to trashy garage, while a horn section is featured on "High On The Fire" (my personal favourite track), and a fifty-piece symphony orchestra is put to great use on "Final Warning." If there was still any doubt in your mind whether or not you would be buying this album, then a guest appearance by the legendary Keith Morris (Black Flag, Circle Jerks) should seal the deal. There are no highlights (apart from the aforementioned HOTF), as every song on the entire disc is sensational in its own right.
Basically, this record is superb and comes highly recommended. It may not be as perfect as Apocalypse Dudes was, but it's still guaranteed to be one the most awesome things you'll hear all year.