Turbonegro. The worlds greatest cult band? Probably… For anyone unfamiliar with this enigmatic Norwegian 5 piece, imagine the bastard offspring of AC/DC and Motorhead jamming to the Ramones underpinned with a distinctly Scandinavian sense of humour and your getting somewhere around the mark!
Sexual Harassment is the band’s ninth studio release and the first with new vocalist Tony Sylvester replacing Hank von Helvete due to the latter’s substance abuse problems. Also a new addition is drummer Jamie Hand who replaces Tommy Manboy.
Many fans may have been concerned at the personnel changes, assuming the band would change direction or lose intensity. Fear not! This album rocks just as hard as any of their previous works. Sylvester has a slightly more low pitched and guttural vocal style than von Helvete possessed but this suits the dirty low down punk rock perfectly. It’s not quite as frantic as earlier albums like Apocalypse Dudes or Ass Cobra but it’s a terrific rock’n’roll record and the lyrics are truly something to behold! Given that English is their second language, they have a remarkable amount of fun with the clichés of the wider rock lexicon and put an hilariously tongue in cheek slant on them. One gets the impression that the band know exactly what they are doing with the lyrics but that just makes it funnier. It’s not a comedy album but there sure are some laugh out lout moments as well as some frankly chilling monologues!
From “Tight Jeans, Loose Leash”:
“Just an honest man….in a leather mask!
From “Nihilistic Army”:
Why can’t you be positive?”
“Don’t you think you’re too old for this?”
“Why don’t you buy one of those self help books?”
“I can’t read!”
“Why don’t you just go slit your wrists?”
“I don’t bleed!”
…and the entire lyrical content of “I Got A Knife” and “Dude Without A Face”. Just…awesome really…
The music is simply very good hard rock, employing the band’s blues rock meets angular punk ethos to great effect. Kick ass AccaDacca style open chord vamps blend superbly with the slightly evil sounding (Hey they’re Norwegian!) semitone power chord changes. This album pumps from start to finish with guitarist Euroboy soloing enthusiastically throughout proceedings and there are some really fantastic rock riffs. It’s not all that original but this kind of music is all about attitude and execution and Turbonegro pass both tests on this release with flying colours!
There aren’t many stylistic changes throughout the album but for the band to do a ballad or incorporate other styles would just be wrong; it just wouldn’t be Turbonegro! There is quite a lot of rhythmic piano playing as has been the case on previous releases, and this is rather reminiscent of David Bowie’s “Suffragette City”, in fact the band have covered this song in the past.
All instrumental performances are more than adequate for this style of music, but the standouts are Sylvester’s gloriously dirty vocals and Euroboy’s great six string riffing and soloing.
Nothing to complain about on the production side of things either, perfectly dirty rockin’ stuff.
Standout tracks (and song titles!) are the brilliantly frantic opener “I Got A Knife” and the hilarious party anthem “Shake Your Shit Machine”. “The Nihilistic Army” features some of the best and funniest lyrics on the disc and “Dude Without A Face” is a really dark, heavy track with a simultaneously chilling and laughter inducing monologue!
Fans of the band or indeed fans of any good hard rock, you NEED this album! It’s great hard rockin’ fun that doesn’t take itself seriously in the slightest despite the facetious image of Nordic solemnity and pomposity the band humorously postulate.
Recently, Sexual Harassment booted Justin Bieber out of top spot in the Norwegian album charts, something we should all be proud of them for!
Despite the recent lineup changes and the fact that the band do not deviate from their formula, they have lost none of their humour or balls out rock’n’roll attitude and Sexual Harassment is adrenalin fueled rocking fun from start to finish.
Author – Stewart Hall