Galway based punk five-piece Turnstiles release their debut EP, The Turnstiles EP on 8 Jan 2021 on Blowtorch Records, and I tell you this is the way to start 2021. With a blistering attack and full-on “Come on, let’s have you” attitude, the four tracks are full of fire. They speak of the impact of economic and social systems, and how they inform our actions and life choices. London born frontman Callum Mitchell delivers stinging lyrics over the trebly guitars of Colm Sweeney, and Cillian Ryan backed by Luke Mulliez on drums and Jake Tiernan on bass.
Opening track “Something to Die For” is an assault on the senses, beginning with full-on screeching and screaming; it is electric. Those guitars are worked like crazy, and the fingers must be bleeding by the end. The drums provide a pounding backdrop. This track demands to be played loud, but listen to the lyrics. This could well turn out to be one of my tracks of 2021.
Have a taste of “Something To Die For” from The Turnstiles EP out on January 8th.
“Just Bleed” has a slightly less raucous vibe, but Callum’s emotional vocals and a tight guitar riff still provide an absolute sense of urgency.
The over-riding focus of this EP is personal and political issues and how they contextualise each other in reality. Perhaps this is most evident in third track “In A State”. It begins slowly and has a sense of foreboding. “All cowboys are forgotten, they’re super-heroes now.” The clever play on words decries corruption and the impact of short-term view of leaders. This song is sprinkled with such references; it is utterly beguiling.
Lyrics like “We are the first generation of instant information” seem so obvious but at the same time so smart. I mean what a pure description of modern culture, in just eight words. This final track “Omniscient Delusion” presents the negatives of social media and our 24-hour instant information environment. Some people think their opinions are the most important, others are not what they seem, and some choose to bully and belittle. “If you think you know it all, it’s just omniscient delusion”.
I had the opportunity to ask Turnstiles a few questions:
How was the process of writing and recording in the crazy year of 2020? Were you able to get together?
We met up as soon as we could after the first lockdown for a couple of jams, just to get back in the swing of things really. But later on in the summer, we moved all our gear into Cillian’s shed, and we spent a week going there every day to write. That’s when the whole EP was written, except for the first track, which we got to play live a few times at the start of the year. The EP feels really fresh to us because it’s made up of four out of the last five songs we’ve written. So it really captures where we’re at as a band.
Is TheTurnstiles EP out later due to lockdown?
We had a couple of delays. We were due to mix it the week that the second lockdown came in, so that was a bit frustrating. Luckily, Daniel, who we mixed it with, was able to fit us in on the 2nd of December and we got it done it two days. It was actually a very quick process if you take out all the dead lockdown time. We recorded over three days, mixed in two and mastered in two. We wanted to release as soon as possible after mixing because we feel that’s the most exciting way to do things, the songs are almost as fresh for us as they will be for everyone else!
You played a Livestream gig from the Listowel venue Mike the Pies in Ireland. It was fantastic for us to watch, but was it good to be playing live, even without an audience?
Mike the Pies (Livestreamed gig) was great. We’ve played a couple of Livestream gigs this year, but they all felt a bit off. Mike the Pie’s was the first time we could really sense the audience watching, and I think that’s a testament to the venue and the team they had there, as well as The Love Buzz (the support band). Their performance before ours really got our energy levels up. It’s never going to be like the real thing, but I think that was about as close as you can get.
So let this fire-brand EP by Turnstiles, with its undercurrent of seeing through corruption and power, be your soundtrack to launching full throttle into 2021.