I should admit before this review gets going that I'm a giant fan of Turbonegro. I've been actively following them (musically, not literally) since about 2005, with the release of 'Scandinavian Leather', which blew my mind when I was in the last years of high school, bored as arse with the nu-metal shite which was finally dying down around about then. Since then I have delved deep into their back-catalogue and they've blown me away time and again with every new thing I've found.
'Sexual Harassment' is their first post-Hank album, after he left the band in 2010. Hank von Helvete had previously left the band, to get off drugs, in 1998. This led to a drastic increase in popularity and a triumphant reformation with Hank in 2002, the band more famous than they'd ever been previously. Their new singer, Tony Sylvester AKA The Duke of Nothing, previously of the excellent hardcore band The Dukes of Nothing, joined the band in 2011, and is a fantastic frontman for them. If anything, his very different vocals have re-energised the band and made them much more punk than they've been on recent releases, meaning that their 'Ass Cobra' material sounds much more intense. The stage show has also been revived, with less theatrics and more focus on the music.
I was lucky enough to see them at Supersonic festival last year and they played a ferocious set of their old material - this was before anyone outside the band had even thought of them releasing a new album - so when news of 'Sexual Harassment' arrived a month or two back, I basically creamed. I'm not afraid to admit it. Fortunately for me, that creaming was not in vain - the album is excellent.
It's no 'Apocalypse Dudes', or 'Ass Cobra', but it certainly features more gold than shit. High points include 'Hello Darkness' (an obvious first song for gigs), 'Shake Your Shit Machine' (funky, classic 'Apocalypse Dudes' sound), and the ferocious but hilarious 'I Got A Knife', which brings to mind the best parts of 'Ass Cobra' ('Bad Mongo' or 'Midnight NAMBLA'). The exciting thing about the album is the prospect of hearing these songs live; the truly anthemic 'Rise Below' (probably this album's 'Fuck The World', in terms of scale and sing-along quality) and the already classic 'You Give Me Worms' being the best examples.
The most surprising thing about the album is just how willing the band were to delve into their own history to recall some of their previous styles, re-interpret it in a modern way: 'Dude Without a Face' is pure 'Never is Forever', recalling 'Nihil Sleighride' in particular with its depressing riff and constant forward motion.
That's not to say there's no filler. 'Buried Alive', while featuring some brilliant lyrics, is clearly here just to round out the duration (still a slim 33 minutes), and 'Tight Jeans, Loose Leash' is a slower, second-rate 'Back to Dungaree High'. That being said, what this album proves is that as long as there's a fat bloke in make-up at the front, this band will live forever. The fans know that Happy Tom makes this band, and it is his baby. As long as the sailor man is there then everything will be OK.
Posted: Thu 14 June 2012