It took one listen to the title track from the new Turn to Crime album, Actions, to make me a fan of the band. The cut, purring like post-millennium New Order, is a supple bit of business. It's insinuating and accessible in ways that some of the other cuts on this record are not. That's not to slight Actions, out Tuesday on Mugg and Bopp, but to highlight the rough edges of this band that keep them from being too polished. The bits that are smooth here are smooth but there's a hint of something bad about to erupt. Consider "Prince of Slackers" which recalls Lou Reed at his best but with the hard drumming of early post-punk acts like Wire. It's a piece of work indeed.
Actions is quite hard to easily pin down and for that reason I sort of feel unequipped to write about it. It's like these cats have been doing something great over in Detroit while I've been clueless about their music all along until now.
"Light" echoes the best stuff from Iggy Pop's sojourn under the shadow of the Berlin-obsessed Bowie. Add in some wicked axe-work behind the vocals and you've got another winner.
A song like "Impatience" shows the influence of Frank Tovey and Fad Gadget while "Without a Care" owes a debt to Bowie's Lodger. But to compare the tracks here on Actions to such worthy forefathers is not to label Turn to Crime as genre-jumpers but, rather, to place them in great company. Lots of acts have admirable influences but few can integrate those influences so perfectly as Turn to Crime. Actions is, so far, the pleasant surprise of the year for me as a listener. I knew nothing about this band before now and after listening to their latest record I want to know everything. It's that good.
Actions is out Tuesday on Mugg and Bopp.
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