The UnLive | Albums: Research Turtles by Research Turtles
Posted on April 28, 2010 by Greg
Research Turtles by Research Turtles
Research Turtles was born in Lake Charles, LA when Jud Norman (bass and vox) and brother Joe Norman (guitars and vox) joined forces with old high school buddies Logan Fontenot (guitars and vox) and Blake Thibodeaux (drums). Apparently their somewhat goofy name came from watching and loving Wes Anderson’s The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou. The name’s a little misleading; it captures the humor of the band, but not the power and speed.
A line from their website tells us that they sound more like British Invasion imports than local boys, but I don’t hear it. Research Turtles sounds like Southern guys with a lot of post-60s (mostly American) influences, and that’s just fine: the Invasion bands were copying American artists anyway. Besides, no Englishman would be fooled by their names: Fontenot and Thibodeaux are as British as fried okra.
Anyway, on to the songs:
Among my favorites: “Let’s Get Carried Away” sounds like The Posies mixed with Overwhelming Colorfast; clear shining vocals and harmonies mixed with feedback-tipped guitar riffs. “Mission” is a super-catchy powerpop song that would fit right into Fountains of Wayne’s excellent Welcome Interstate Managers. “Cement Floor” brings more heat, and the lead vocalist compares favorably to Pat DiNizio from the Smithereens. The winkingly-titled “The Riff Song” overcomes some (intentionally?) clichéd lyrics (“I can’t quit you bay-bay”) with awesome stormy sludge rock that sounds like a jam session between Kurt Cobain and Soundgarden’s Kim Thayil. “Into a Hole” is a song Rooney wishes they wrote, and “Break My Fall” ends the set strongly, carried by waves of powerful guitar.
I’m less into the slower songs. “Kiss Her Goodbye” sounds written for a high school dance, “Tomorrow” has a reggae beat that doesn’t fit the band too well, and “A Feeling” is a little monotonous overall, despite some sharp late soloing.
The exception to the slower rule is the nameless hidden track after “Break My Fall”; a simple, sweet little critter that pokes its head out after four minutes of silence. Its light strumming and beautiful vocal harmonies send the record off to a quiet sleep in a warm sunbeam.
Overall, this is a pretty impressive first album, with top-notch producing, especially for an unsigned band. There are some plodding arrangements and lyrical clunkers scattered throughout the album, but if these guys are allowed to develop and mature, I think they could definitely hit it big. Who knows, they might even end up on a future Wes Anderson soundtrack.
7 of 10
–Greg from The UnCool
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