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Turbowolf - The Free Life album review

Grandstanding, riff-filled, psych blow out from Bristol’s finest fuzz merchants Turbowolf

Turbowolf - The Free Life
Turbowolf - The Free Life

Turbowolf - The Free Life

No No No
Capital X
Cheap Magic
Very Bad
Last Three Clues
Up & Atom
The Free Life

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God only knows how much smoke seeps out of Turbowolf’s rehearsal rooms. I doubt their singer even knows where the drummer sits among all that fragrant fog, the guitarist’s fuzz pedal a low hum as the speaker stacks bleed intermittent stabs of feedback. It doesn’t sound like the kind of environment that might equate to an album brimming with infectious melody and stuffed with ideas, but Turbowolf’s latest album is their best yet. 

For the uninitiated, Turbowolf pick and mix from a range of influences that include Kyuss, Jane’s Addiction, occasionally, Sabbath, and a host of spangle-eyed, psych rock bands, but it’s their subtitles that elevate them above their Big Muff-playing contemporaries. There are moments here that are pure Beefheart or Zappa and his Mothers. The creeping synth lines and an unerring ear for rich melodies means that for all their aural gymnastic bombast, there are real songs at the heart of everything. It’s a rewarding, wild ride.

Philip Wilding is a novelist, journalist, scriptwriter, biographer and radio producer. As a young journalist he criss-crossed most of the United States with bands like Motley Crue, Kiss and Poison (think the Almost Famous movie but with more hairspray). More latterly, he’s sat down to chat with bands like the slightly more erudite Manic Street Preachers, Afghan Whigs, Rush and Marillion. He ghosted Carl Barat’s acclaimed autobiography, Threepenny Memoir, and helped launch the BBC 6 Music network as producer and co-presenter on the Phill Jupitus Breakfast Show. Five years later he and Jupitus fronted the hugely popular Perfect 10 podcast and live shows. His debut novel, Cross Country Murder Song, was described, variously, as ‘sophisticated and compelling’ and ‘like a worm inside my brain’. His latest novel The Death And Life Of Red Henley is out now.