Turnstile - Time & Space (Cover Artwork)


Time & Space (2018)


The album cover for Turnstile’s Time & Space is a visual manifestation of the album’s sonic objectives as the band seek to bring a disco ball groove to the pit. After the aggressive New York-style hardcore detour of 2016’s Move Thru Me 7” on Pop Wig, the Baltimore band take the leap to Warner Brothers subsidiary Roadrunner Records, which is also current home to Korn and Slipknot. Despite that possibly troubling reality, Turnstile appear to have retained their identity and used the major label resources to smooth and streamline their sound without sacrificing their aggression and hardcore pedigree. However closely some of this sonic terrain may hew toward nu-metal, Turnstile avoid the regressive politics and machismo posturing of the ugliest bands of that genre in favor of lyrics that favor positive hardcore mantras and self-exploration.

Time & Space picks up where Nonstop Feeling left off as a further refinement and evolution of the band’s sound. Will Yip who helped Title Fight expand their sound in interesting directions on 2015’s Hyperview serves as producer. Clocking in at a brisk 25 minutes and change, the testosterone hardcore is now balanced by a bevy of influences, including ‘90s alt-rock luminaries like Helmet and Quicksand. Early Victory and Revelation Records sounds are married to the trends that coursed through hard rock at the turn of the century. The early singles were a slight feint as this set does not dilute the band’s vigorous vitality. The album is a successful amalgam of influences into an entertaining fusion that retains positive youth crew messaging.

“Can I keep it all together? / Waiting for the real thing?” vocalist Brendan Yates postulates to himself in the album opener and first single. Yates discussed the song’s lyrical conceit as the self-delusion that “perfection from your past can blind you to the real beauty of life right in front of you.” “Big Smile” begins as a prototypical blistering sprint only to breakdown into a hilariously sunny Beach Boys-style melody on the backend. The Diplo (?!?) assisted “Right To Be” ends with some spaceship blasters as Yates rages, “They want to take / my right to be.” Move Thru Me’s “Come Back for More” retains its crushing energy with some boost to the beefy bassline and an inspired guitar run that only serve to accentuate the song’s velocity.

“Generator” begins with their characteristic take on New York hardcore before pivoting on an oceanic guitar riff and outro with an atmospheric vocal and righteous metal guitar solo. “I Don’t Wanna Be Blind” is another departure with a meaty bass stomp and crooned verse that crash into a barreling chorus. “Moon” finds the band trading Brendan Yates’ yelp for bass player Franz Lyon’s more measured vocals, an inviting departure that hopefully the band will continue to explore on future releases. The track also boasts the backup vocals of Sheer Mag’s Tina Halladay, another rebellious spirit whose band is also subverting the traditional boundaries of underground music by hijacking the gleeful intonations of ‘70s radio rock. “High Pressure” throws in the syncopated piano from Led Zeppelin’s “Rock and Roll” as another startling wrinkle in the genre that succeeds.

Overall, Time & Space is a successful continuation of Turnstile’s trajectory in expanding the boundaries of hardcore to incorporate bands that were divergent offspring of the New York scene’s initial explosion. Time & Space is very nearly The Shape of Hardcore to Come. Walter Schreifels should be proud.