Even a brain tumor can't slow down Turn To Crime.Mugg & Bopp Records, 2017
7.6 / 10
Turn To Crime’s fourth album, Secondary, forgoes a chance of understandable, somber introspection for a typical Turn To Crime album. But for Turn To Crime, “typical” means “really fun.” After the release of 2014’s Actions, Turn To Crime frontman Derek Stanton began experiencing hearing loss in his left ear. Well, the guy does rock out a lot. That’s probably the reason, right? Uh, no. In fact, a brain tumor was to blame. Fortunately, that scare is in the rear view mirror as Stanton is better now . One good thing to result from Stanton’s brain tumor is a massive storm of new songs. Eight of which appear on Secondary.
Secondary maintains Turn To Crime’s signature DIY style. The lo-fi production gives Stanton’s voice a rugged quality similar to Tom Petty. Stanton seemingly addresses his near fatal calamity on album opener “Dead Man”. “If I don’t see/ That witch doctor/ And he don’t mix up/ That magic stuff/ I’m a dead man,” he sings. Then, for no discernible reason, an explosion of synths bursts through. It’s the equivalent of a musical jump scare; though, it’s not frightening by any means. On the album’s title track, we expect something similar to happen. A guitar riff seemingly lurks in the shadows; growling occasionally as if waiting to pounce. It’s like hearing footsteps behind you, but just as you turn, its skyward synths suggest no danger is present.
It’s clear that Stanton’s having a lot of fun on the album with songs like “Get Your Pills from Tony” and “Mary Jean’s Chocolate Pie”. Just what is the meaning behind these songs? Oh, simple ideas like this Tony guy having the best pills in town. And this lady Mary Jean serving the best chocolate pies. Also memorable is the album’s first single, “Chasing”. Its muscular riff sounds lifted from an ‘80s action flick, and I’m talking straight-to-video. But for all of its simplicity, Stanton doesn’t shy from a chance to go big on “Fall Down”. He executes its tiny sounds on a grand scale, and it feels colossal. Although no other song is as huge as “Fall Down”, Secondary stands tall as Turn To Crime’s best album yet.