The Pietasters - Turbo (Cover Artwork)

The Pietasters

Turbo (2002)

Fueled By Ramen

It's been three years since the Pietasters' last album, "Awesome Mix Tape #6," was released. Three LONG years. Much has happened during this time. Todd Eckhardt, the band's old bassist (and one of their main songwriters) left the band and then passed away in November. Their guitarist, Tom Goodin quit in June of last year. They gained a keyboardist (Erick Morgan) and a bassist (Jorge Pezzimenti). Toby Hansen (trumpet) switched to guitar to fill Tom's shoes. And finally, Carlos Linares, their original trumpet player returned to the band...oh, and they left Hell-cat and signed to Fueled by Ramen. So does the band sound a bit different? A tad. Eckhardt's songwriting style is absent on this record, but luckily the band came together and recorded some incredible stuff.

The Pietasters have always been known for their blend of ska and soul, but it has never been as apparent as on this record. The opening duo of "Told You The First Time" and "Set Me Up" are marvelous Motown-influenced tracks. The "oo-oo's" and the bouncy guitar in "Set Me Up" will make this a crowd pleaser at live shows. "Drunken Master" is next - and as usual the Pietasters call on their toasting friend, DJ Selah to help out. This song is amazing. Selah's lyrics are great and the song contains one of the greatest moments in Pietaster history - the band completely stops playing and gives the limelight to the horn section. It's amazing. "Rachel" is another soul track, and has a great scream and shout final chorus. "Every Afternoon" is one of the best love songs the Pietasters have ever done. It mixes ska with 60's rock and ends with nearly everyone in the band singing a different part. "Got to Stay" is the real tearjerker on the album. Steve Jackson begs and pleads his way through this one and you really feel bad for the guy at the end.

"Step Right Up" is a really great instrumental track that gives the keys and horns another chance to shine. The Slackers' Vic Ruggiero provides another stellar song in "Nothing Good to Eat." Two other pleasing tracks, "Trust Yourself" and "How We Were Before" are both great slowed down ska numbers and either one could have worked as an album closer.

The recording quality is not as good as say, "Awesome Mix Tape #6" (which was almost too good), but it's still better than "Oolooloo." It's amazing that the band went through all of this stuff in the last three years and still brought out an album that impressed the hell out of me. Highly recommended.