Fans of the singer-songwriter should read this review with caution. I will grant Sam Beam …
It hasn’t been a full calendar year since Turtlenecked (Harrison Smith) released Pure Plush Bone Cage, but the young Portland local has been hard at work churning out his latest album, Vulture. Out on Good Cheer Records, the album has plenty of frantic, fast punk tracks punctured with hints of the artist’s evolution. Smith is at an age when change happens frequently and quickly, and his sound eloquently expresses the inner turmoil that can come with that change.
The album’s lead single, “Boys Club,” premiered this past November as Smith’s response to the election results and embodies not only his signature sound but perceptive social commentary. Smith offers up some loving on “Meeting You At The Hospital,” opening with the lyrics “Am I the only one who wants a movie romance? / Not some patriarchal white male bullshit.” While I think those two things may be one in the same, the rest of the song is filled with loving comparisons of mating dragon flies and literary couples. We start to see evolution in his work via tracks “Tummy” and “Stradivarius.” “Tummy” leaves the realm of punk, into more of a synthy dance vibe before coming full circle to a frenzied end. “Stradivarius” is a calm acoustic track that lands almost like a lullaby with lyrics “Singing you asleep as the sun sets on the carpet / Now I’m sleeping with the television on.” It’s a perfectly planned album closer. Catch Turtlenecked this summer on his tour in support of Cool American.
– Rosie Blanton