Turbo by Sailboats Are White

It seems that every so often, more than there should, a new band comes along with a sound that, for some reason, is attributed to the gods of music-yesteryear. The Methadones sound like Elvis Costello. Angel & Airwaves sound like U2. And Vetiver sound like The Band.
It’s a music fumble, an unfortunate laziness on the part of the rock critic. Maybe it’s a gotta-hit-the-deadline accident, maybe it’s the result of writer’s block. Either way, it has just gone too far.
Yes, too far. Because when bands like the Canadian electro-punk outfit Sailboats Are White are described as a cross between Big Black and Black Flag- “Big Flag” to be precise, a sort of TomKat of the music world- and do not have the decency to try to maybe, just a little, sound like a post-punk 80s American Underground hardcore super-machine hybrid, then such a comparison is unwarranted. Completely.
Their debut album, “Turbo,” can be held as a testament to this non-awesomeness. It lacks the zeal, the force, the novelty of the hardcore pioneers they are weighed against. Instead, it offers 12 tracks of transparent and disjointed noise with inaudible lyrics bellowing below the snarl of frontman Kevyn Wright. But they do have one thing going for them- their trigger happy rhythms are fantastically catchy, albeit frenzied.
And although they claim their Big Flag persona is just a mere accident, they have taken a cue from the brains behind Big Black, Steve Albini. Sailboats Are White had decided to axe their drummer and employ the automatic stylings of a drum machine. But unlike the arrogantly genius Albini, this Canadian quartet has not mastered the dials of their computerized drummer. Instead, behind the vocal barking and thrashing guitar riffs on “Turbo,” the same pulsing hum could be heard- the same thump-thump-thump that the band seems to have written their tunes around. This wouldn’t be such a bad thing if they knew what they are doing. But predictably, they don’t.
Listening to “Turbo” has garnered, despite everything, one comparison- imagine if you will that Combatwoundvetern bathed in an expired pint of Arab on Rada. Maybe they can be called CombatwoundRadar. Sounds better.
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