Thursday, April 21, 2011

Review: Research Turtles “Mankiller Part 1 of 2” [EP]

Modern rock
We last heard from the Research Turtles in August of 2009 with their self-titled debut album (review here). They’re crawling back now with a new EP called “Mankiller Part 1 of 2”. The time in-between has been spent relentlessly supporting their initial release, scoring opening slots for bands as varied as Toad the Wet Sprocket, Sister Hazel, and Candlebox. The hard work has served them well – the Research Turtles were the winners of the 2010 Record of the Year Contest by Radio Six International in Great Britain (for the song “Let’s Get Carried Away”) and voted the 2010 “Best Band in Louisiana” by Lagniappe Magazine. Another recent change is the addition of a new guitarist/vocalist, Joseph Darbonne.

After a sparse yet attention-grabbing intro (“Girl Like You”), which showcases the naked beauty of their vocals minus the crunchy guitars for a moment, the EP kicks into high gear with a staple for this band, “You Are So”. This feisty little tune is an irresistible fun time rocker with sunny guitar leads and a breezy break in the middle. Great dynamics and strong performances throughout. “Bugs In A Jar” is sedated, but engrossing, with moody verses and a captivating lyric. As cool as it is, I’m not sure I would have put it out as a first single to introduce folks to the band, as it is more of a grower than most of the other tracks here. “Mankiller” has a great Romantics feel to it, bristling with energy and a tongue-in-cheek attitude, and the grungy “Rhinestone Gal” resembles early Stone Temple Pilots. “Rhinestone Gal” also features one of the sweetest melodic breaks I’ve heard this band pull off to date…my current favorite off the EP.

What is most noticeable about this five song collection is the remarkable diversity of musical styles you experience in such a short period of time. “Mankiller Part 1” will be out May 31, 2011, with “Part 2” to follow later this year. In the meantime, why not head on over to their web site and download the first single, “Bugs In A Jar”, for free (until May 31)?

Research Turtles on MySpace. Official site.