Turner Cody: Gangbusters!


(Turner Cody)
Release Date: 
Tuesday, May 17, 2011

In my research for Turner Cody I uncovered plenty of new words like Hipster and Anti-folk but nothing that could quite define what it is that Cody does on his newest album Gangbusters!. Instead I visited and revisited the album several times over the course of three days trying to collect my thoughts on who Turner Cody is and what it is he’s trying to accomplish on his new album. Apparently not an easy task as I’m still sitting here an hour and half before my deadline still trying to piece my words together.

     What I enjoyed about Gangbusters is that the album, musically, is near immaculate in every direction that it attempts. There’s kind of a New Orleans jazz vibe to it, a southern blues rock vibe, a bit of lounge and alt. rock. Regardless what it is or what it sounds like the accuracy and effort put into it is fantastically done. The album owes a lot to former and current Beirut members Jon Natchez and Kelly Pratt who provide horns on the album. The horns, where applicable, really do make all the difference.
     Another aspect that I like on the album was the placement of electric guitar on some tracks. Both Sam Grossman and David-Ivar Herman Dune take on this duty supplying a 50’s style sound to Jackson Heights or a 70’s Southern Blues Rock sound on When We Go. Wherever electric guitar pops up it’s a beneficial sound to Turner Cody’s acoustic musings and heightens the overall track.
     Lastly backing vocals by Simon Beins, Angela Calucci, and Dawn Landes provide that most beneficial push to Cody’s sometimes monochromatic vocals. While as an individual voice Cody does fairly decent somewhere between spoken word and a vocal style that I would associate with say Daniel Johnston. The combination of a folksy narrative and intellectualism, that sometimes plays on a more personal inside level, comes off imperfectly perfect (if you get what I mean), but also sometimes read.

     Some of the problems with this album seem to fall mostly on Cody himself. While his off vocal style can be endearing it does tend to go flat after so many listens and his use of wordplay tends to detract from the sense of depth when it comes to the album as an overall. One of the more endearing qualities of music, for me anyway, is the ability to find myself within the music. That aspect is mostly missing here on Gangbusters as Cody travels roads that seem geared more towards a sense of style rather then personal reflection. I find myself in the music rarely in the fifteen tracks found on the album which is a real shame.
     As an album that I can see myself listening to often I would slot Gangbusters in that category. As an overall effort by all the hard working musicians on the album Gangbusters truly is a joy to listen to but abandons me as one of those moment of need types of albums. As always final judgment is yours. Enjoy.

AJ Garcia
Review by AJ Garcia
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