Bristol-based rock band Turbowolf has had all kinds of influences ranging from rock to punk to electronica. Its second album is no exception, as a cacophony of sounds can be heard.
Invisible Hand starts off on a bare note, with straight forward, descending guitar strums from Andy Ghosh. It’s a full minute before anything happens, then the track suddenly speeds up and headbangs straight into venomous thrash metal with vocalist/keyboard player Chris Georgiadis spitting anti-market rhetoric (best summed up in the ‘now we’ll bite the hand that feeds us’ line). It’s nonetheless a decent opener despite its limited., mono-like sound mix.
The following tracks launch straight into the singles. The gritty, catchy Rabbits Foot has funky and rock guitar riffs casting a witchy spell, and should make most listeners want to get up and jump. There are two clever melodic variations of the one ‘I need some kind of voodoo, I need some kind of love’ hook that border on musical genius. Solid Gold is just as energetic, though the tape loops of children in the intro runs just a tad too long.
American Mirrors goes all sneering, operatic and chillingly theatrical like Alice Cooper. It flies out like an out of control bat out of hell straight from a horror movie, as the persona of the song seemingly becomes Americanised. The spooks continue on the wacky but brief organ interlude Toy Memaha, which sounds like an 8-bit video game dug out from the ground (like one of those god-awful E.T. Atari games).
Unfortunately, the second half is a hit or miss. Nine Lives may sound dangerous on paper but actually sounds rather conventional and unmemorable. Its lines such as ‘I ain’t got nine lives’ and ‘live every day til I die, don’t need nine lives’ sound juvenile, like a bully cajoling ‘nyah-nyah-nyah- nyah-nyah-nyah’ in the playground. Good Hand tries to be as loud and brash as tracks like Chelsea Dagger by the Fratellis with its ascending guitar riffs and jumpy rhythm. The psychedelic, short slower synth showcase MK Ultra is engaging but has barely there vocals, making listeners think, ‘how high were they when they mixed this?’
Rich Gift is the longest track, but feels unnecessarily long. There’s the messy clash of shrilly vocals in parts that didn’t go past quality control, before heavier sections where the guitar riffs don’t really dish out anything musical apart from the genuinely life-affirming ‘the world is ours’ parts. Pale Horse starts off all ominous, but doesn’t grab, making it a weak closer.
Two Hands shows the band’s potential on its brightest moments. However, this important sophomore effort flounders towards the end and ends up being an unsatisfying listen.