“Adolescent dreams gave to adult screams. Paranoid that I won’t have all the things they say I need.”
Perhaps it is the fact that I’ve spent the majority of my twenty-one years of life living through the bitterness of Northeast Winters and the scorching hot Mid-Atlantic summers, but I’ve always thought of music as being associated with the seasons of the year. With that said, there are albums that seem to come about at the worst possible time of the year. Aaron West and The Roaring Twenties deeply affecting folk-rock debut We Don’t Have Each Other– released in the middle of the summer- comes to mind, as does the winter release of Walk The Moon’s newest pop masterpiece Talking Is Hard.
Turnover’s newest record could’ve fallen under that category as well. Peripheral Vision is a record that seems near-remorseful yearning that greater characterizes the late summer, early fall timeframe, rather than the rebirth that comes with late Spring. For an admittedly small subset of the band’s fan base, however, the early May release date of the record corresponds to one major life event: the end of the school year. In my particular case, this means my impending college graduation.
Because I’ve been nearing what is obviously a huge life milestone, I’ve been increasing- and understandably- nostalgic recently. And this nostalgia has reminded me of a quote from one of my favorite books- and by extension one of my favorite movies- High Fidelity by Nick Hornby. In it, the main character Rob Fleming states, “Sentimental music has this great way of taking you back somewhere at the same time that it takes you forward, so you feel nostalgic and hopeful all at the same time.”
I can’t help but assert, then, that Peripheral Vision is some of the best sentimental music I’ve heard in an immensely long time.
Turnover seems to deal in so many ways with the past. This is a testament to vocalist Austin Getz and the rest of the band’s ability to tell a story not simply through the lyrics but through the wistful, reminiscent melodies and musical backings. On “I Would Hate You If I Could,” Getz takes on the disintegration of the relationship and the seeming impossibility of starting over. Lines like, “I was out one night when I saw you and you froze me where I stood. I would hate you, I would hate you if I could,” obviously pack a significant emotional resonance, but even more impactful is the palpable longing in Getz vocals and the fluttering guitars which suggest the title’s indecisiveness. On humming, he uses a familiar melody to display the song’s subjects growing disinterest in the songs they used to love, as he sings the line, “Humming songs you heard when you were young. / Positively unattached, not even unattracted to the buzz.”
If you have read this far you know that I have hardly compared Peripheral Vision to any other album in the genre. It would be simple to compare Peripheral Vision to some of the band’s contemporaries’ newest records- and many have, comparing it to everything from Title Fight’s Hyperview to Superheaven’s Ours is Chrome to Daisyhead’s The Smallest Light.
Those records, however, seem to eschew the conventions of the genre simply for those band’s own whims- not building upon any past successes nor reinventing themselves enough to make a bold statement. Those albums were innovation for imitation’s sake. Peripheral Vision is a different animal entirely. It is innovation for necessity’s sake. Turnover appear to have provided a vital shake-up to the emo genre. No other band could have produced a song as pensive and melancholic as “Dizzy on the Comedown,” yet given it such an uplifting and regenerative hook. No other band in the genre could have distilled the simple yearning for self-fulfillment better than Turnover does on “New Scream,” “I’m craving that new scream lusting for more than just, old dreams. I’ve been dying to feel alive.”
Other records have come out that sound like Peripheral Vision, and, if we’re lucky, more records will come out in the future that sound like Peripheral Vision. But not too many records will ever be released that feel like Peripheral Vision.
This brings me back to my original point. As I stand at the crossroads of my life, I look to music to find the answers to things I don’t yet know. To quote High Fidelity again, “I’m very good at the past. It’s the present that I can’t understand.”
Peripheral Vision has helped me understand the present a little bit better, and perhaps it can even help me to carve out the future. I look forward to hitting repeat again and again to find out.