12 Dec 2018
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Superturtle - Album Review: Student Flat Reunion

31 Oct 2018 // A review by Alex Moulton

Student Flat Reunion is the fourth album from Superturtle. With the exception of frontman Darren McShane, the group has had a revolving door of musicians associated with them since the band’s inception. As such, their sound has been categorised in a number of ways; from alt-pop to rock and funk-soul.

The release boasts a catalogue of 19 tracks, running just short of an hour. This does mean that Vinyl LP edition is missing the final six tracks (which are only available on physical CD and digital copy only). With track lengths varying between one and a half to three and a half minutes, the tracks are short and punchy, with a pop-punk flair to many of the more compact tracks; such as That's What You're Looking For and Who Put The Knives On.

McShane’s vocals are rather distinctive and hark back to the 70’s and 80’s where unique voices and singing styles were sought after, and necessary to stand out in a music scene dominated with very similar rock formulas. With an almost forceful, staccato vocal style (reminiscent of Fred Schneider’s vocals in The B-52’s Love Shack), the vocal melody takes on an almost percussive role.

The initial tracks on the album have a very cohesive vibe, with a fast-pace and strong beat, each track is infused with latent energy, and an almost nostalgic twang with the prominence of the keys in the cover of A Flock of Seagulls track, It’s Not Me Talking. The 70’s and 80’s ambiance is present with influences from the likes of David Bowie, Blondie, and Talking Heads very clear in the styling of each track.

As the album progresses, however, the tone begins to shift as the group begin to experiment with other genres and vocal styles; whether the Russian styling of Hit The Floor, the smooth commercial pop-rock vibe of La Da De Da (which brings back memories of the Anchor Milk ads of old. I’m talking Nature by The Mutton Birds), or the distorted heavy rock sound of That's What You're Looking For.

Student Flat Reunion brings back the days of old, before every track had to be a popular single. Each track does stand on its own, but as a whole the album takes on another dimension, making use of intermissions and placing hidden tracks to break up album. With 19 tracks, there is a veritable plethora of styles on display. While I initially thought the twin riff from the opening track Changing Lanes to be jarring, as you listen through the album, everything starts to fit together and as you uncover different sides of their style, you gain a greater appreciation of their musical abilities and adaptability, moving between genres with easy.

A surprisingly tight album, that has a sense of familiarity and a very clean edge.

Rating: ( 4 / 5 )
 

About Superturtle

Superturtle's debut release in August 2008 was heralded by an inaugral live performance featuring special guests Chris Knox and The Nothing. Four songs made Kiwi FM's top 10 over the following year, with video play on C4, Juice TV, Triangle and CueTV, and In Flight on Air New Zealand. The single All Our Friends featured on Jim Mora's National Radio show Best Song Ever Written on May 11th 2012. The album received four star reviews in The Waikato Times and The Groove Guide.

THE MIDDLE

The second album About The Sun was preceded by the Valley Town EP and Sad Sack single and was released June 7th 2010 on Sarang Bang Records and Ode Records. It received extensive play on Christchurch bnet station RDU and Kiwi FM.

Visit the muzic.net.nz Profile for Superturtle

Releases

Beat Manifesto
Year: 2013
Type: LP
About The Sun
Year: 2010
Type: Album
Valley Town
Year: 2009
Type: EP
To The Rescue
Year: 2008
Type: Album

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