Moreland Audio – Turbogold

5 out of 5

Label: 54’40 or Fight!

Produced by: Jim Marrer (recorded by)

The Purkinje Shift reconfigured themselves and thus – in the band’s collective mind – required a name shift, giving us: Moreland Audio.

…Who sound very similar to their former variant, and so buy in confidence if you’ve enjoyed any previous PS release. For those arriving fresh, Moreland’s sound absolutely takes from the school of Chicago, instrumental post-rockers – some notes of Tortoise’s spread-out, layered composition style, for example – but with a DC Discord bite: a punky, harsh stutter to the way the drums sputter and the dual guitars interact.

The new addition to the team is on percussion – Adam Overton – and they’re absolutely key to what we’re hearing here, slipping in and out as support and leader, and never allowing the backbeat to become solely that; it’s always an important element, even if Overton hangs back to let the riffs lead the way. Gary T. Flom’s / Ben Davis’ contributions on that front are the throughline to the Purkinje approach, which is one of patience and persistence, down to prove incredible chops but confident in working on letting notes or chords ring out for effect. The net balance of this is material that milks the absolute most out of its runtime, on all fronts, without having to be especially showy or mathy wanky about things, even though we get that also. Recorder Jim Marrer’s work with Man… Or Astro-Man? is a fair touchpoint, giving us a clear, forefronted, unhurried sound, which is then fleshed out to arena-sized impact by our trio (though you can absolutely imagine the slow-roll to big, conclusive bangs working just as well in a small pub).

I do realize that the cross-section of sounds mentioned above – post-rock chill and punky verve – isn’t a mind-blowing combo, especially in the early 2000s, and I can understand how Turbogold’s consistent mid-range tones slipped past the radar for many. But it’s unassuming accessibility is, to me, its secret weapon, earning those instant toe taps and then luring you into to its more subtle complexities, and an unbeatable understanding of balance, and ebb and flow; it’s an album I can put on at any time, and happily find myself stuck in its rhythns on repeat, whether in need of something to headbang to, or a soundtrack for a more casual stroll.