Party Animals

Turbonegro

Burning Heart Records, 2005

REVIEW BY: Chris Harlow

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 05/19/2005

With 2003's Scandinavian Leather settling the inevitable question about Turbonegro's ability to maneuver past cult hero status, the title of this month's release -- Party Animals -- lends the nitwitted notion that the band feels their previous effort was the blue ribbon achievement to what is largely a superb catalog of full-length recordings. I can't say I agree, as Scandinavian Leather was neither the shocking nor humorous superior of the four Turbonegro albums preceding it. Truthfully, I now find Scandinavian Leather packing the same punch as a lukewarm cup of decaffeinated coffee.

But, with that album spawning a new crop of fans, as evidenced by the countless backing tracks MTV has given the band on shows like Jackass, Viva la Bammy_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250 , & Wild Boyz, these six Norwegians have been forced to further cut the homosexual & NAMBLA-istic overtures framing past songs contributing to the band's legendary deathpunk heritage. Let's just say that today's "Blow Me (Like The Wind)" is no "Rendezvous With Anus" in both shock value and more importantly musicianship and leave it at that.

Obviously, it's sad to say that with increased public exposure comes the heightened responsibility of conformity. Maybe that is what Ratt's Stephen Pearcy once meant when he sang that "Nobody Rides For Free." I guess Pearcy's intent doesn't really matter as Party Animals is an album flirting with mediocrity even moreso than its predecessor, in being further handcuffed by the fact it has no real schtick to fall back on. To live by the schtick-sword, one must die by that same blade.

While tracks like "All My Friends Are Dead," "Babylon Forever" and "Death From Above" impress musically regardless of lyrical content, a track like "City Of Satan" reeks in its attempt to cop a 1980s-era KISS vibe with a lot of what remains on the album failing equally to inspire. Another big reason that some of the tracks on Party Animals get really tedious is because guitarists Rune Rebellion and Knut Schreiner (aka Euroboy) change their guitar tuning into more of an obvious pop flavor such as what is found on the track "Stay Free."

Thankfully though, Party Animals does pull off some old school trickery in crafting the best song on the album, entitled "If You See Kaye." You don't even have to hear the track to get the gist of the type of songs that the band was once capable of frequently producing . If I am losing you at this point, go back and chant the title of this song 10 times fast. Actually, if you are English speaking and it takes you more than one chant, move along, as Turbonegro in past or present tense is probably not for you. To the point, this song shines in anthem form with the obvious chorus set to several upbeat timing sequences.

As much as I'd like to celebrate the advent of having another Turbonegro album in my mitts, it's not going to happen with this new breed of party animals. Not unless, of course, it happens to be at a club hall on Turbonegro's next tour where fortunately the band still puts on one of the best rock shows going these days.

Rating: C-

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© 2005 Chris Harlow and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Burning Heart Records, and is used for informational purposes only.