Returning artists and brand new discoveries (via trusted label and direct contact sources) furnish the motivation for this early springtime edition of Cromwell music review writing. Dynamic releases from creators mastering multiple genres via technology, performance and devotion share space here with more traditional classic rock formats. The common thread running through it all is a high-level of skill and imagination embedded in all the songs.
Equal measures of industrial electronics, heavy rock, seductive vocals, black-clad fashion glamour and spirituality are woven together in the music of Turbo Goth. As popularity continues to grow in both their native Philippines and adopted home of NYC, the duo of Paolo Peralta and Sarah Gaugler have released a brand new album “Awakened Imagination.” Fresh from a return appearance at SXSW, the self-described “high gloss rock duo” now receive a detailed DCW review.
Lead off track “Ready For Something New” sets the albums initial vibe with a dreamy, trip-hop feel. Distant, muffled voices and ambient textures are the first things you hear, before Sarah's smooth, precisely-placed-in-the-mix vocals deliver the title line (and more) in cascading, dream-like manner. Shuffling electronic percussion undulates underneath subsequent vocals stating “let me know when you're on your way.” There is a distinct soulful emotion running through this as Sarah cooos “I wanna watch the stars with you.” As percussion expands to busier ticketty movements, the primary change hook exhorts how “it seems like we both like the same things – the same dreams.” The overall attention to detail exhibits an uncanny precision, with layered vocal asides and interludes meticulously placed. “Hold on to the sparkles in the air” becomes one more rumination within this magical mystery groove.
The following cut “Endless Blessings” begins with Sarah's voice up-close and in-your-ear (with subtle electronic processing) singing the line “youuuuuu – are devine – all good things take time.” Powerful drums soon start a heavy-metal thump, followed by Paolo's equally hard-rock guitar riffs. It's a quality down-and-dirty groove, with syncopated pacing between those drums and guitars. Synth keyboards make their way into the mix, soon followed by Sarah's softer-edged vocals. There's lots of space for the voice on top, as the Led Zepplin dinosaur groove thunders forward. “I'm not who I was before” Sarah declares, before launching into a riff-and-vocal tandem sequence that is as hypnotic as it is heavy. Bass guitar and piano-like keyboard lines emerge in a change section that lyrically implores you to “come into the light with me” and to “set your heart right now on fire.” The leaden groove returns, this time with extended rising guitar textures and opening sentiment “all good things take time.” Launching once more into the rhythmic vocal tandem sequence containing the song title leads everything out to it's ultimate conclusion.
Gentle ocean breezes can be felt in the ska-dub rhythms of third entry “New Realms.” Deep synth-bass is complimented by softer-chunking reggae-style guitars. Subtle background whistles, snare-drum-roll punctuation and distant horn accents all contribute to this on-holiday, Jamaican vacation sensation. Powerful guitar riffs and thundering drums return for the hard metal rocker “Diamond Spirit.” The guitar lines are as intelligent as they are forceful, creating strong figures out of a changing chord progression. Sarah begins her vocals in a high falsetto creating an otherworldly impression, with following lines bathed in a processed sheen. “Take it right now – make it right now,” becomes the smooth alternating vocal hook against those heavy-metal abstracts. Speaking of “spirit” (as the title suggest) you can feel the essence of classic drop-D down-tuned guitar pioneers like Black Sabbath and their “stoner rock” descendants.
Bass and drums electronic hip hop percussion powers along fifth track “Adventures Beyond.” Sarah's angelic vocals plead “Still – I want to be still with you.” Establishing location while “getting ready for a long drive” is presented with delicate levels of autotuned FX, creating an appropriate dreamspace. Singing about how they're “leaving” and “done with all deceiving” confirms the overall the spiritual theme. The sequence is repeated while backward-looped guitars color ambient spaces inbetween. Double-time lyrics stating “everything is possible with you by my side – I'm ready for a long ride” serves as an equal metaphor for both taking an actual trip now, and a full life ahead together.