Personnel: King Brock, Jo-Nasty (vocals, guitar); Matthew Hearn (drums, percussion).
Recording information: Battle Tapes Recording, Nashville, TN.
Photographer: Karlo X. Ramos.
Fans of the Turbo Fruits have become accustomed to change, since the group's first three albums each featured a different lineup, with guitarist and singer Jonas Stein the only constant since their formation, but album number four, 2015's No Control, delivers a different sort of change-up. Though Stein is calling himself Jo-Nasty this time out, remarkably enough, No Control features the same musicians as the band's previous long player, 2012's Butter, but where the Turbo Fruits have previously been at their best serving up hard rock in a decidedly '70s manner, here they let loose with their pop influences. The band is still fond of big guitars and vintage fuzzboxes, but No Control suggests Stein and his bandmates are finally coming clean about their love of Badfinger and the Raspberries, and they're having fun with it. Numbers like "Favorite Girl," "Need to Know," and "No Reason to Stay" are splendid re-creations of first-era power pop, and "Show Me Something Real" and "Worry About You" are sweetly bummed-out tunes that blend languid melodies with bursts of potent guitar firepower. Stein's voice is better suited to the poppier attack on these songs than his more swaggering big-guitar efforts, and the rest of the band -- Kingsley Brock (aka King Brock) on guitar, Matt Hearn on drums, and the immortal Dave Tits on bass -- falls in line, adding just the right amount of nuance, knowing when to crank up and when to play it subtle. And if Patrick Carney's production is perhaps a bit sparse in spots, he knows how to get the guitars to sound right but otherwise stays out of the way and lets the Turbo Fruits do what they want. And if what they want to play is '70s guitar pop, No Control shows it's a better and more fitting choice for the band than one might expect, and it's arguably their best work to date. ~ Mark Deming