I must admit, I was never really a huge fan of Turbine before. I mean, I liked what I had heard but it was never actually enough to curve my enthusiasm. Then along comes their new release Blue Light City. The album is so good that I actually went back and listened to all of their earlier albums and decided that I was a fan all along and I just never realized it. It's kind of like when you discover a band for the first time and you love the album so much that you just have to go back and pick up everything they've ever released. And you always end up saying, "How in the hell did I miss these guys?!"
If you go back to their earlier work, even last year's live release Sounds in the Hall, you just can't help but notice that the band has evolved. The song writing and arrangements have always been good but there are just huge leaps on Blue Light City, mainly in the production department. Not surprising considering they worked with John Davis, who recorded The Black Keys' Grammy winning song 'Tighten Up'. And it's amazing what a little polish can do. Four of the tracks on Blue Light City also appear on Sounds in the Hall. These songs literally sound as though they've been scrubbed over and spit shinned and presented as they were always intended to be. The new album is an astonishing vision of sound that is innovative and grand in scale. Blue Light City is an album that can easily end up being stuck in your CD player for days.
It is noted that the band members possess high degrees of musical training, incorporate difficult song structures, time signatures, and melodies and still manage to maintain an accessible track list to the casual listener. This is all very apparent right from the start on the opening track, The War of 9161 (The Pledge). And I'm not a huge fan of the harmonica. Its right up there along with the bag pipes with me. Turbine somehow manages to spark a new interest with the instrument, producing sounds and effects that seem fresh and innovative. Blue Light City is a solid album. It's a great album to groove to on a sunny afternoon car ride and it's an even better album to have blasting over your living room speakers. It's a psychedelic delight with robust songwriting, inspiring technical prowess and enough catchy hook grooves to be a contender with the mainstream. I can't recommend owning this album enough.
- C. Robie