Turtle Skull by Turtle SkullRelease date: May 17, 2018
Label: Art As Catharsis Records
It starts with more than 45 seconds of sustained fuzz guitar, then in come thumping drums and distant vocal harmonies as they are located in the third room on the left and in comes ‘No News is Bad News’, the opening tracks from Turtle Skull, yet another ‘nouveaux psych’ band from Australia and their self-titled debut album.
It seems that Aussies are coming up with all shades of psych these days, from Tame Impala to King Gizzard, some of them are less rooted in the past, some more, but what is their most prominent characteristic it seems is that they are simply – good. Turtle Skull is no exception, at least in that respect.
You need to take just a glance at the cover of Turtle Skull to immediately get the notion that the quintet is more rooted in the psych of old and that the title of the opener is probably a tongue in cheek comment on the possible comments to that fact. But in this case, the fact that there is no news IS good news after all, because re-tracing steps that somebody has already taken without being a simple imitator can be an art in itself, and Turtle Skull certainly know their psych.
Still, the band add another touch to their sound that others might have missed, reminding us where that element actually came from in the first place – shoegaze style vocals, and by shoegaze I mean the style that was epitomised in the late Eighties and on. With all that, Turtle Skull certainly know how to play (hear the crunching guitar on the closer ‘Empty Ships’).
So the main question remains, does something have to be truly innovative to sound good, and yet again, Turtle Skull confirm the fact that even the introduction of ‘minute’ details to a sound acquired by going down a well-trodden path can come up with some truly enjoyable music.