Turnstile's Glow On: melodic hardcore punk expansionists' most eclectic statement yet

Baltimore genre-hoppers Turnstile get ready to rhumba with Glow On

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Baltimore’s Turnstile have already proved themselves adept at capturing the sound of 90s melodic hardcore and infusing it with a buoyant alt-rock haze – most notably on their 2018 album, Time & Space. The question of where Turnstile take that formula with this, their third full-length album, is answered within minutes of pressing play.

Expansion is the key, with Turnstile bringing in more elements from the most unlikely of places. The offbeat percussive hits prevalent in the chorus of Holiday sound straight out of the Slipknot playbook. Three minutes earlier, on Underwater Boi, a tipsy tremolo guitar part sounds like the bed of a Chris Isaak song before the sun rises on a chorus ripped from the OST to Miami Vice.

Of course, Turnstile never actually sound like Slipknot or Chris Isaak, or the soundtrack to a sun-kissed 80s American crime drama. Their identity is too unique for them to sound like anyone else but Turnstile, but these disparate ideas are sewn through the fabric of Glow On and stitched together to create a beautifully layered and rich tapestry.

Blackout adds phaser synth sounds to its driving chorus to provide some nostalgic panache before a minor percussive interlude that conjures images of a punk rock take on Led Zep’s Moby Dick makes way for the biggest breakdown riff you’ll hear all year. All this in a song lasting just 2:53.

The wealth of ideas that Turnstile crowbar into their songs is ludicrous, and to do it all with such a sense of constant forward momentum is perhaps their most impressive feat. The rhumba beats that characterise Don’t Play sound like vital parts of the composition rather than mere window dressing, and it’s a trick that they pull off with consummate ease throughout. Glow On isn’t just essential listening for fans of 90s melodic hardcore; it’s essential for all fans of music.

Glow On is out August 27 via Roadrunner