The Turbo A.C.’s “Radiation” NYC Punk N’ Roll Album Review

The Turbo AC’s are true die-hard brass ball rockers. You can steal their gear, burn down their pizza shop, drop them from a shitty record label, but it doesn’t matter, they are here to stay.  Turbo AC’s are the real deal, and Kevin Cole is a Rock Legend.  Smell his fingers if you dare! Blag Dahlia (The DWARVES)

Being one of the critical pieces that epitomize the spitfire sound of the mid-90s NYC punk n’ roll scene, The Turbo AC’s show no incentive to change a working music formula, which continues to play in their favor. Their new offering, Radiation, represents 23 years going strong for Kevin Cole (founder – guitar/vocals) and crew with a consistent attack of hard-charging power chords, surf staccato picking grooves, and a ruthless rhythm section. Even the kung fu movie sampling is there, and that’s consistent branding, as any Turbo AC’s fan will recognize. They know what works and what doesn’t in their world. Why would they change their style if its still gets them domestic and international touring gigs and release offers? No reason to change.

For the new record, Radiation , neither of these guys sound jaded in what they’ve put out here given how long they’ve been at it. Cole’s endured some heavy-duty events during the creation of this record. During its conception, the man jumped ship from his longtime home in NYC for pizza shop entrepreneurs on the shores of Luquillo, Puerto Rico. It makes for quite a story; Midwestern runaway leaves claustrophobic NYC for a new life on the beachfront, running his own pizza shop. Hurricane Maria ripped through the island and said differently, along with marriage and divorce during the writing of this record, and it’s situations like these that generate jumpstart creative fluids.

Radiation, like their last LP, Kill Everyone, is high on production value but contains the intimate grit feel of a close confines recording. There’s a sense of triumph and mastery within the songwriting notably on the track, “Get Up”, which Cole penned after the impact of Hurricane Maria and the rebuilding of his livelihood.

The track “Nothing Wrong With Me” evokes a sardonic tongue-in-cheek lyrical pattern (“There’s something wrong with everyone I see/But baby, there’s nothing wrong with me”) and chord structures heavily identical to Dwarves (fun fact, Cole wrote the song for Blag originally.) However, they quickly turn it into their own with a showcase of surf drum rhythms from Mike-e Montreal and Cole’s staccato licks.

The standout track Radiation holds would have to be the reflective carefree island feel of “Wasted” and its piano over strings mellow vibe. Always present with an instrumental on their albums, the tropical dusk sunset and surf pipeline aesthetic of the title track exemplifies the unit as being well rounded in playing other styles of music. The rest of the album is up for your own ears to check out, you’ll be glad you did.

It’s good to see these guys start the machine again. Some things shouldn’t change, Radiation hits stores on June 22nd, with pre orders available now through their Bandcamp page. Live to win!

Album Review: 
The Turbo AC’s
Words by Matthew Hutchison

Artist: The Turbo AC’s

Album: Radiation

Genre: Punk rock, Surf rock

Label: STOMP (US) – Concrete Jungle (Europe)

Street Date: June 22nd, 2018

Single: “Get Out” (video available now)

RIYL: Agent Orange, Turbonegro, Motorhead, Dropkick Murphys

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