NORTH SHORE BAND Superturtle releases its third album on vinyl only, but lucky purchasers get a free CD with the vinyl, and who could quibble with that?
The vinyl format suits the group’s aesthetic, as they record at Birkenhead’s Earwig studios, which has apparently amassed quite a collection of cast-off analogue gear; and in fact, Superturtle’s guitarist/vocalist and presumably chief songwriter, Darren McShane, is Earwig’s resident producer/engineer.
This must make the Superturtle project – which started out as a high school band – more of a creative proposition when it comes to recording. After all, watching the clock is no fun at all.
Beat Manifesto is an odd name for a recording that can’t help raising the ghosts of new wave-era bands like Devo and The Cure. It’s an odd sound, too, especially McShane’s edgy vocals, which sometimes take on a Dalek-style metallic urgency, and occasionally defer to what sounds like a Vocoder, but may be some other canny studio voice-mutating agent.
It’s a little rough in places, and McShane’s voice is placed quite low in the mix, which is a mixed blessing. It’s a lot of fun, though, and the songs do have a certain Kiwi perspicacity and a refreshing assertiveness in talking about our lives. Think of Don McGlashan’s early work with Blam Blam Blam and you’ll be on the right track.
I like it, because it’s willfully eccentric, but I can also see that it may not connect with a wide constituency, because there’s something rather insular about it. At the same time, there’s probably an international market for authentically new wave-oriented bands who release on vinyl, so good luck to them. GARY STEEL
Music = 3.5/5
Sound = 3.5/5