The Superturtle discography goes back as far as 2008 and with each passing year that name gets to take on more meaning/value. Something similar with the voice of the band’s head of affairs, Darren McShane, whose vocals might have sounded copycat two decades ago but these days stand out as something rather new, brave and interesting.
There’s bravery in the lyrical subject matter too. The brilliantly named WTRFU inevitably it comes with a warning for explicit language. An ode to corporate cretins, conservative media, polluters and fascists according to Bandcamp, it bluntly asks just who you are to ‘…tell me what to do and what to think and what to say’, wrapped up in a very dancey, jerky jangle of guitars and strident rhythm. It’s brave to name a song I Love Those Cigarettes, though in fact, the true subject is more a contribution to the referendum debate, “… short ones, fat ones… the green ones are the best,” than a stand for nicotine and tar. Lyrically though Superturtle’s enduring post-punk intentions are best evidenced in WTFRU, though Dress The Same runs it close, “We all dress the same, we all live the same, we all look the same, but we’re not the same…”
There is a formula in the song structure with simple verses often leading the band into a wigged out jam, well illustrated by Best Days Of My Life.
McShane runs his own Earwig Studios in Auckland and there’s plenty of sonic experimentation among the psychedelic rock sounds. I hear a disciplined band having a very good time, soloists encouraged but not allowed to run on as the overall song dynamics are carefully managed and song lengths kept close to a neat three-minute average.
Bad For Business (and Dancing In The Hall) finds them in Devo country, but even Devo wouldn’t have had the temerity to include a jaw harp as a lead instrument. There are two mentioned in the credits, drummer/percussionist Ben Birkett plays one as does ring-in Jonathan Annandale. While McShane’s lead vocals which regularly punch in maybe lack a little in variety, all four band members add their voices reinforcing the strong impression of a version of Superturtle that is in real harmony. Released on Sarang Band Records, ‘Wait For It’ is their best yet, without doubt. But then, WTFAI to say?