As for every band and artist, the Covid Pandemic and various states of lockdown has brought musical journeys to a halt but not curtailed the creativity within as epitomised by Irish outfit Turnstiles. This is a band which has forged their own path with increasing recognition, attention and demand gathering before them. So being stopped in their tracks was obviously a major setback but also the opportunity to have the time to explore and push their invention; the result the ear gripping Turnstiles EP.
Galway based, Turnstiles formed in the March of 2019. Initially getting venues to allow them to play proved a problem so the quintet founded and curated a monthly and free local independent music night called ‘Free House’ which gave a platform for themselves and other new local artists to play. From there headline shows across Galway, Dublin and Limerick and gigs at renowned venues such as Roisin Dubh, Whelan’s and The Button Factory followed as well as rich attention and support for a quartet of singles. With scheduled festival appearances cancelled as the pandemic swept the world, Turnstiles holed up in one of the band’s sheds to concentrate on their writing with the outcome an EP that simply demands attention.
The band’s sound is a fusion of punk and post punk with an embrace of noise punk. Imagine the rhythmic addictiveness of Gang Of Four driving the sonic confrontation of Girls In Synthesis and System Of Hate for a trespass fuelled by the raw but viral temptation of Austerity and you get a potent idea of the band’s sound and release if not the individuality which firmly sets it and they apart from such references.
Recorded in Lakeland Studios with Mike O’Dowd and mixed with Daniel Fox of Girl Band, the EP erupts into life with Something To Die For. A sonic piercing accosts ears first, its trespass scuzzy and magnetic and soon embroiled in the corrosive tempest cast by guitarists Cillian Ryan and Colm Sweeney. Within moments the compulsive rhythmic enslavement of bassist Jake Tiernan and drummer Luke Mulliez takes hold with vocalist Callum Mitchell injecting his challenge and magnetism. Twisting and invasive, the track is a maelstrom of enterprise; one as contagious as it is erosive and swiftly gripping our ears and appetites.
Just Bleed follows with matching intent and character. It teases and nags from its first breath, bass and guitar baiting with predacious hooks as beats incite before relaxing into a sonic embrace as haunting and intriguing as it is portentous. The track rung the senses thereon in, leaving a resonance even after its departure such its impact and temptation though fair to say that In A State soon consumed full attention with its initially understated but tempting entrance and the swamp of sound and creative challenge which followed. Cold melodies vein a primal growl, guitar and bass hungrily united as Mitchell again challengingly roars to compelling effect.
Our favourite track brings the release to a superb end, Omniscient Delusion needing mere seconds to enslave. Tiernan’s bass is a spring cast in the inspiration of Dave Allen and his irresistible essences within Gang Of Four yet soon it reveals its own identity as the track uncages its own fusion of flavours and imagination. It is a web of temptation and manipulation, every aspect under the skin in swift time and burrowing deeper by the second.
Turnstiles is a band easy to imagine having a potent maybe even a music defining future once the world finds some kind of normality; right now with their first EP they have provided the year with one of its first essential incitements.
The Turnstiles EP is out now via Blow Torch Records; available @ https://turnstilesgalway.bandcamp.com/album/the-turnstiles-ep
Pete RingMaster 11/01/2021