Album Review: Turbonegro – “Rock ‘n’ Roll Machine”
Sometimes you hear a record by an established band and your first reaction is “Ooohhh, I bet that’s gonna split the fanbase a bit.” Such is the case with Rock ‘n’ Roll Machine, no less than Turbonegro’s ninth album. While its predecessor, 2012’s Sexual Harrassment was pretty much a straight-up rock ‘n’ roll album, this effort starts off with a synth-heavy intro which turns out to be the first part of a three-part rock opera based around the title. What’s perhaps even more surprising is that Turbonegro actually succeed in making a decent headbanger of a song out of this opening.
Rock ‘n’ Roll Machine is certainly one hell of an ambitious effort – imagine Electric Six, Hysteria era Def Leppard, 1984 era Van Halen, The Who at their most rock opera bombastic and a bunch of choice AC/DC riffs all being chucked into a blender and seasoned with Turbonegro’s typically irreverent sense of humour (see Fist City and Let The Punishment Fit The Behind) and you’re probably getting a good idea of what to expect.
Like I say though, dammit but it works well. The epic bombast of Hot For Nietzsche and John Carpenter Powder Ballad are big skyscraping epics with fist-in-the-air (literally evidently) choruses while Skinhead Rock ‘n’ Roll is Elton John’s Saturday Night’s Alright For Fighting given an Angus Young riff overdose. All in all, it’s as wonderfully silly as you’d expect, but somehow yet again it rocks like an absolute bugger. No mean feat.
Be warned - if your experience of Turbonegro is mostly based around Ass Cobra and Apocalypse Dudes then this is a very different proposition, but y'know what? It still rocks like hell. This may be a very different band from the one you're used to and the change of direction may not suit everybody, but there's something about it's cheesiness that's very enjoyable indeed. Recommended.