Superturtle – Beat Manifesto (Sarang Bang) LP REVIEW

8670787NORTH 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.
superturtle-2013This 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


  1. Nice to see vinyl recordings… I’ve asked a few local (and excellent) groups about their recording medium. Most have some sort of Bandcamp/Soundcloud facility but some have ‘just’ mp3s available. No lossless.
    Those producing physical mediums typically use CD, because of production costs associated with vinyl.
    Whatever – it’s great to see good music being produced!

  2. Thanks for your comment, Graham. Several of the bands on the Sarang Bang label have produced vinyl recently, including the rather excellent Salon Kingsadore. There seems to be somewhat of a renaissance of vinyl with NZ bands, with vinyl issues recently of historic titles like the Waves and first Shihad albums, as well.

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