Turnpike Glow - Fünke Pop (self-released)

Turnpike Glow – Fünke Pop (self-released)


If you’ve never heard a note of Turnpike Glow’s music, one look at their discography to date could at least tell you where they’re coming from.  With song titles like “The Turn, The Pike And The Glow” and “Her Flaming Lips,” and their newest EP actually being called Fünke Pop, it’s no secret that this UK-via-Rome indie quartet has a sense of humor and isn’t afraid to show it.  An admirable trait to have in any artform.  But for all the cultural references and cheekiness on the surface, it might be easy to think of Turnpike Glow as another case of style-over-substance, a bunch of blowhards.  Well fear not cynics, because with four songs in just under 15 minutes, Fünke Pop is bursting at the seams with exuberance and is anything but posturing.

The band kick things off with “Heels In Madrid,” a midtempo number that gradually builds towards its towering chorus, bathed in beautiful guitar and keyboard textures all the way through.  They’ve listed Broken Social Scene’s You Forgot It In People as a major influence on their sound, and it certainly shows in this song’s wide-eyed reverie.  Turnpike Glow keep the energy levels high from there, as on the rhythmically tricky post-punk stomp of lead single “Her Flaming Lips” or the shouty sing-along of “Debussy”.  Sandro Schiena’s excitable vocals and way with a sweet melody (you’ll find at least two hooks per song here) benefit greatly from an insistent and upbeat backing band.  The guitar melodies are endlessly chirpy and enjoyable and the skittering drums provide solid danceable rhythms while sounding like they could fall apart at any moment, in a good way.

By the time Fünke Pop wraps up, nothing really distinguished closing track “A Sentimental Song from the EP’s other material.  It’s not a bad song by any means, but the band have essentially done the same thing more effectively on the previous three songs; it would be interesting to see what they can do when they slow down the tempo or change their approach even slightly.  Still, this is a minor setback for what is only the band’s second release.  The kinetic energy that Turnpike Glow display here is thoroughly refreshing, and it will be interesting to see what they do in the future.  As it stands now, that Fünke Pop is some kind of something.


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