Turbo Fruits’ No Control Shows Surprising Growth

Featured Image by tcbrekke via Flickr

Who knew a band named after something that sounds like a trippy children’s television show could get so deep! With Turbo Fruits’ fourth studio album release, No Control, the band maintains its garage-rock sound while sounding like they all (finally) graduated from high school… or did they?

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The Nashville quartet released the 11-track album on Monday, April 20th. No Control was co-produced by The Black KeysPatrick Carney, and the tight production of TBK’s music is definitely shown here. Most of the songs display a delicate duality of soft verses and heavier, louder choruses, something Nirvana became known for on Nevermind.

The album begins with the slinky and sexy “Show Me Something Real.” It’s a little trippy and something a guy would totally play in his dorm room to “set the mood” before a hookup to seem cool. The same could be said for the following song “The Way I Want You.” The guitar and chorus are reminiscent of old-school Brand New with its topic of unrequited love.

Turbo Fruits sober it down midway into the album with “Friends.” At first listen, it sounds like an adaptation of The Beatles’ “With a Little Help From My Friends,” but soon you realize it’s about someone’s desperate plea to his friends to help him stay away from alcohol, and is based on singer/guitarist Jonas Stein’s past alcoholism. “I got a problem that I don’t like, I need my friends to help me fight,” he sings. “Worry About You” sounds like the band is giving an intervention to a girl in need. “I’ll make it better,” Stein sings, and it sounds like it’s truly coming from the heart. “Big Brother” ends the record on a melancholic note, with the band singing about a brother that will never come back.

The themes here represent a larger anxiety about growing up in general as well. Like graduating from high school and/or college, there comes a sobering reality of adult concerns. For instance, partying in college is normal and “cool,” but now, if I decide to drink during the day, it may not be the best decision. Turbo Fruits addresses these concerns head-on and their increased maturity does not go unnoticed. They left their garage and got their diplomas.

There are still moments, however, where the band focuses on the sweetness and careful fun. “Don’t Let Me Break Your Heart Again” is a simple boy-chases-girl song, but the bridge gives it a little more edge. “Favorite Girl” is about young love and is very poppy. These songs make the record a little more juvenile and disconcert its mature main message, but their catchiness is undeniable.

While a few songs in the middle are unmemorable (“Don’t Change” and “Need to Know”), the guitar playing, played by both Stein and Kingsley Brock, is consistent throughout and has the signature fuzzy feedback of garage rock, a softer version of the feedback Sleigh Bells produces.

The band proved that they could mature and fine-tune their sound on this record, so we’re optimistic that they won’t burn out like many garage bands do. Turbo Fruits will be coming to Philly on Thursday, May 14th with Surfer Blood to the Boot & Saddle. Make sure you listen to the record first below!

Cover Art courtesy of the Artist via

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