Published Oct 31, 2019Turnover are, as some say, a vibe. The band entered their sun-kissed dream pop phase with 2017's Good Nature, a mellowed-out search for personal paradise that found them in the company of Real Estate and Mac DeMarco, rather than the Warped Tour crowd.
That continues with their fourth record, Altogether, with added elements of funk, jazz, soul, lounge and Britpop. But the band's increased approachability, yet total lack of tension and dynamism, is enough to make one yearn for the vigorous indie punk energy of their breakthrough, Peripheral Vision.
Altogether is the first Turnover album to be written with the band's members living on opposite coasts of the U.S., with bandleader Austin Getz leaving his Virginian roots and finding bliss in a new home in California wine country. Their meeting points were New York and Portland, OR, and you could argue that the album's sound captures the nexus of those areas, coincidence or not.
Sonically, it's a pleasing record. Longtime producer and collaborator Will Yip did his part well. With luscious production and arrangements, Turnover's music often feels like a dream — but sometimes Altogether just feels like sleep. "Much After Feeling" gets groovy, "Plant Sugar" has pep, and "Number on the Gate" has some decent hooks, but even those stronger tunes have a lifelessness to them that makes them prone to fading into the background. With themes of self-consciousness, mindfulness and perspective, it makes sense that these songs would have a calming, meditative tone. But the reality is that they come and go without any notice.
A similarly sedated effort, Good Nature was warm, inviting and legitimately enjoyable upon its release. But only two years later, its lasting impact seems miniscule. Altogether, meanwhile, has less of an immediate effect and seems even less likely to have much staying power.
Getz seems to have fallen into a deep romance, found his calling in life and settled into a positive state of mind, while still looking for answers to many of the questions that life often forces us to ask ourselves. That's a very good thing, and Altogether seeks to capture that sense of balance and the constant pursuit of wellness and reflection. Anxiety, anguish and unrest can often produce great art, but so can spiritual harmony. It's just a shame that in the case of Turnover, contentment sounds so bland. (Run For Cover)