Turbo Fruits (2007)
The year was 2006. The album was self-titled. The response was terrific. Be your own PET had a hit, and the four high-school misfits were on the road to stardom. Most of the crew was satisfied enough to kick back, relax, and party like it was 1999 (the year most of them turned 12). But proverbial ringleader Jonas Stein wasn't content just sitting around on his musical ass waiting to write the next album. He was ready with new songs. So what do you do when half of your band isn't ready to record new material? You grab your brand new drummer, hire a bass-playing bud, and throw together a side project.
And Turbo Fruits was born.
Firstly, let me say that it's hard to review a side project that sounds so similar to the artist's main gig while remaining completely objective. Thus, be your own PET comparisons are inescapable.
That being said, Turbo Fruits really could be a be your own PET album. It has the same aggressive-yet-poppy edge that defined BYOP's 2006 release, but without Jemina Pearl's corrosive voice screaming obscenities in your face, the album feels a little less intense. So take PET's S/T release, dial it down about two notches, and you'll have Turbo Fruits.
With Pearl on the sidelines, Stein takes over vocal duties for the band. His voice is deep and hoarse (unless he's screaming), and much less confrontational than Pearl's. The guitar and drum work are what you'd expect from the Stein and BYOP drummer John Eatherly: PET-esque. However, Eatherly is willing to slow it down a little from the balls-to-the-wall drumming he does for most of PET's songs.
Lyrically, Turbo Fruits is pretty simplistic, and almost funny. Like the music, the lyrics are about having fun in the most illegal ways possible. Lyrical themes include using drugs, murder, having no drugs to use, trying to score with chicks, using more drugs, the munchies, and (logically) protesting the war in Iraq. Shit, the cover of the album is a giant picture of a volcano (and if you don't get that reference, you probably don't smoke enough pot). Still, you'll probably have a blast rocking out to the track "Volcano" while laughing at Stein's faux-baritone voice while he sings "wadda got when you get so stoned / you forget it's Christmas Eve? / volcano."
Overall, Turbo Fruits' Turbo Fruits is certainly addictive. The album opens powerfully, lulls a little in the middle, and then picks back up for a fun ending. After just a few listens, you will almost certainly find yourself shaking your ass and singing along to the album. And while the most listeners will make immediate connections to be your own PET's first full-length, Turbo Fruits do rock distinctively.
One sentence summary: Buy Turbo Fruits' album if you love garage rock but hate the Strokes, if you want to shake your ass to fast-paced music, or if you liked be your own PET's self-titled release.