Newspeak‘s been around since 2017, but I only ran into them about a year and a half ago and I don’t really remember the last time a band became such a huge favorite of mine so fast (OK, I know actually, it was with The fin. a couple of years earlier). Which is sort of strange, because as far as rock is concerned, for the most part I prefer the more edgy, noisy and wilder kind. And Newspeak is definitely neither of these. Their sound is almost ridiculously radio-friendly, never the slightest bit anything that you would call wild or hard or experimental. But they are such an incredibly fine example of how a band playing the most popular sort of rock should sound like and their songs are so damn well written, that I was instantly hooked. Taking their cues mostly from British acts, with the aforementioned great songwriting, perfectly built up melodies and a singer with an also ridiculously radio-friendly voice, they are the kind of band that you can pretty much only imagine playing at sold-out arena size venues for huge crowds singing along their lyrics (which are in perfect English by the way). Still, a big breakthrough eluded them so far and they mostly play in small clubs, which is sort of strange… I guess their sound is just not compatible enough with the mainstream music taste in Japan? I don’t really get it. Anyways, I am ranting, so let’s talk about¬†Turn, the trio’s new album, which is their second full-length and was released late July.

One of my favorite tracks from 2020 was Blinding Lights, a digital single they released just a couple of weeks after I discovered the band and that was the one that reassured me, that it’s OK, they are still around, doing stuff that’s still as good as the earlier releases I came across. And this track (which, with its smooth melodies and totally stellar chorus is probably the most perfect example of why I always refer to them as a “band with arena filling potential”) serves as the album opener here, immediately setting the mood. And it is followed by the album’s other clear stand-out track, Generation Of Superstitions, which has a very different, more upbeat and playful vibe with an indie feel and an especially massive dose of British pop-rock influence. And later on the album sort of balances between the arena rock sort of tunes and the ones with a hint of more indie kind of music, including both upbeat and slower songs and several more highlights, like Great Pretenders with its driving rhythm and superb vocal melodies.

It is not a flawless album though, as in their previous releases there are also a couple of lesser tunes, but never the kind that you would want to skip. Just the sort that is just there and is fine as background music, but does not make you want to hit the repeat button. But the good ones easily carry the whole album on their shoulders and those alone make Turn one of the most memorable releases of the year.

Turn
2021.07.28 / cd, digital
01.Blinding Lights
02.Generation of Superstitions
03.Hear It Out
04.Pyramid Shakes
05.Morning Haze
06.Great Pretenders
07.Weightless
08.Jerusalem
09.Animals
10.Summer Wasted
11.Vinyl Wings of Wanderers
12.Silver Lines
13.Parachute Flare

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A year in reviews: in 2021 I was somewhat neglecting the site due to the lack of free time, but now I try to make up for it as much as possible, reviewing several important / good / interesting albums that were released this year. One for each day throughout December, from a very wide spectrum of genres. #2021reviews