Turnover's 2015 sophomore album Peripheral Vision changed everything for them. The Virginia Beach band (now a three-piece after guitarist Eric Soucy's public departure this year) decided to scrap the Saves The Day-channeling punk of their early output in favor of sharing musical DNA with acts like the Cure or Wild Nothing. Over 11 songs of twinkling guitar-driven dream rock, the band felt rejuvenated. "Everything was completely different after that record. We've been touring extensively since 2012 and we were kind of at this plateau of how many people we'd expect at our shows. That all changed for the better once that album came out," says 25-year-old frontman Austin Getz over the phone.
Getz is taking my call while recovering from the weekend where he and his bandmates showcased Turnover's new album Good Nature, which Noisey is premiering in advance, at free listening parties to diehard fans in Boston and New York. He tells me, "It was weird to see people react to it but that was my favorite part about it. They'd say, 'It's like Peripheral Vision but it's like a lot warmer and bouncier.' That was crazy because that's exactly what I think of it too." While not a left-field shift like Peripheral Vision, the new LP improves upon the giant leap they took two years ago.
Though emotive pop-punk bands diving into dreamier and more atmospheric territory is nothing new (see: The Sidekicks, Title Fight), Good Nature proves Turnover have really gone for it. If the songs on Peripheral Vision could be described as "wistful" and "dreamy," these new tracks practically float in lush and breezy instrumentation. Recorded over six weeks last fall at Studio 4 in Conshohocken, PA with their longtime producer Will Yip, the songs reflect the band's broadened musical tastes. Throughout our interview, Getz mentions George Harrison, Pet Sounds, Bossa Nova, disco, and Toro Y Moi and talks about his extra-attention to the arrangements. "I wanted this record to be a little bit more dynamic and not just New Wave-inspired with driving basslines. We kind of wrote the basslines like guitar parts," he offers.
The bubbly single "Sunshine Type" shows how much Turnover's songs have opened up. Anchored by chiming guitars, the immaculately-produced track finds the band settling into their most soulful groove yet. Says Getz, "One of the big things that people like about Turnover, especially with Peripheral Vision and Good Nature, is the intricacies of the guitar parts." Each riff was meticulously tinkered with while in the studio, a result of Getz' not having a set deadline and being able to write while recording.
That growth in the studio is not just a product of Getz having a larger record collection. "The period between these two records was the part of my life that was full of the most change. In your early 20s, your brain does go through like the most reformatting that it does at any time in your life," explains Getz. Following Peripheral Vision, the band's relentless tour schedule began to take a toll on Getz. He says, "I started feeling a bit more alienated from like people closest to me. My friends back home would talk things going on with them and I'd realize that my life was radically different." Though he was rarely home, Getz decided he needed to take stock of the things that mattered in his life and in his words, find "deeper context in his relationships."
This search guided Good Nature into becoming Turnover's most optimistic offering yet. "Where Peripheral Vision is when the adolescent part of my experience was ending and about the questions I had about life during that time, Good Nature attempts to answer them," says Getz. The album's most propulsive track "Curiosity," practically serves as a mission statement. Over a buoyant rhythm, Getz's delicate tenor sings, "we all have a little curiosity. we're so wide eyed. it gets hard to look at things from different perspectives. what you think is backwards could be inside out." Figuring out how to live and discovering truth drives the heart of Good Nature. "It's hard to be poetic sometimes when you're trying to get a point across like that," offers Getz.
The newfound maturity and serenity permeating throughout Good Nature makes it easy to forget that the unvarnished, raw, and sometimes ugly feelings Getz sang about on Peripheral Vision were from such a short time ago. Between the nostalgia-laden summer ode of "Sunshine Type" or the in-love and at-peace proclamation on closer "Bonnie (Rhythm & Melody)" that "you and me being each other feels like it's all i ever needed," the songs are so far removed from the bitter "you're just another meaningless lover" kiss-off on Peripheral Vision cut "I Would Hate You if I Could." He explains, "I would definitely say that Good Nature is kind of a response to Peripheral Vision because it's basically just from two completely different eras of my life."
True to its title, Good Nature also coincided with Getz getting closer in touch with the outdoors. "I can't really understate it. It's just kind of a feeling from just getting out to the redwoods in California on our first tours and feeling crazy about it," he explains, also citing formative psychedelic experiences. Because of that, he's recently moved to Sebastopol, CA with his longtime girlfriend, went vegan, and decided to take more time to read and stay active. With an extensive headlining tour supporting Good Nature on the horizon, Getz is much more equipped to stay grounded for the near-three month jaunt. He laughs, "I just think that if you let whatever primordial energy take you wherever it will that you know you'll usually end up OK if you don't try to fight it. I've been kind of riding that wave and so far it's been good. We'll see if it throws me off a cliff."
Josh Terry is a writer based in Chicago. Follow him on Twitter.