Ahead of death punk overlords Turbonegro releasing their 10th album next year, lead single Part III: RockNRoll Machine has been unleashed on the general public. Has it really been 20 years since they released Apocalypse Dudes, the sleazy glam punk album to end all sleazy glam punk albums? Jeez.
It was a divided affair from Turbo nuts like myself after the departure of frontman Hank Von Helvete and the introduction of Tony Sylvester in 2011, and it still causes debate to this day. That’s not to say that I’m not a fan as The Dukes of Nothing’s War & Wine was an absolute gem.
The new artwork, like the 1980s picturing the future or a patient wait for a Commodore 64 to load, offered intrigue. I rub many a social media shoulder with their Turbojugend faithful and the word on the virtual street was that of initial aural disappointment. Synthesisers favouring guitars? Never!
Part III: RockNRoll Machine boots with the opening chords of the Dead Boys’ Sonic Reducer before we’re hit with Happy Tom’s trademark bass rattlings. With T.N.T. style “oi’s,” all sounds promising. Alas, the song really doesn’t take off and certain disgruntled Turbojugend chapters were right as the vocoder overrides the rock ‘n’ roll and a classic Euroboy guitar break is swapped for an arpeggio amid machine bleeps and whistles.
There’s no disputing that the pre-chorus is classic Turbonegro songwriting and the repeated chorus does gets etched in your brain. That said, the track is restrained in comparison to anything that’s gone before. Could this be Turbonegro having their Hot Space moment?
Maybe I’m missing the point, after all I’m still writing cheques and refusing these new fangled contactless payment systems. By the band’s own admission the new robotic sound is bringing “tech talk into boogie rock territory.” On this single showing the new direction may take some convincing to fans of old. I guess the proof will be in the pudding come 2nd February 2018 when the new album lands and we can see the full landscape of Turbonegro’s latest futuristic vision. Ginge Knievil.