Turn To Crime – Actions

turntocrimeRating: ★★★★☆

Turn To Crime, or the project of Detroit’s Derek Stanton and company, has been garnering a growing amount of attention lately—and rightfully so. After their debut release last summer that introduced us to their gritty noise synth rock, they’ve countered with Actions, which, simply put, evades all chances of being pegged with one sweeping bulk genre title. Instead, they give us seven tracks that break our notion that an album should be all one genre.

When listening to this album for the first time, it may seem a bit disjointed; you move from track to track with the band, going with them down each song’s own path, but then you make what feels like an about face with the next tune. This phenomenon is present in the jump from opener, “This is What You Wanted” to the second and title track “Actions.” The first song begins eerily with synths coming in subtle waves of sound for the first minutes of the track before the band launches in with more active and looming synth beat and twangy guitar. Using the build of suspense and instrumentation, the minimalism of the song is gripping, hooking you in and making you wait for the drop and wondering if one will ever come. But the break doesn’t ever come, instead the track builds and builds and then ends abruptly, with “Actions” unapologetically starting anew. Suddenly you’re far from the tense opener and into the breezy second track, light guitar riffs scattering through the soundscape, the drum machine beats easily providing the casual rhythm, and the vocals warbling through fuzzily.

Both the tracks are great, but completely different tones and styles. However, on your third or fourth cycle through the songs, the link between them all becomes apparent in the drone-like synthesizers, which underscore the album in its entirety as a dark refrain. All the places that this record goes, the synth follows, casting its dark shadow over it in just the right ways. You get middle song “Light,” which proves to be the most outright post-punk track on the album, with the hodge-podge percussion and shredding guitar, but it’s not complete without those electronic sounds creep in at its end. “Without a Care,” builds its whole frame around the synth, but the song strikes me as bordering on americana, with songwriting at the center and the repeated chorus rounding out the tune.

Actions is not for the faint of heart or the seekers of easy entertainment; it’s a record that takes a bit of time for you to really dig into and enjoy, but with a little bit of love, you’ll find the rewards are worth the repeated listens. Indulge in something different than your usual run of the mill with Turn To Crime’s post-punk synth americana, genre-transcendent of all prior expectations.

 

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