When Turnover dropped their third record "Good Nature" (via Run for Cover) this past August, expectations were loftier than ever for the Virginia indie-pop group.
Between the release of their debut 2013 album "Magnolia" and its 2015 follow-up "Peripheral Vision," the band had moved away from jarringly loud emo anthems to distilled somber-pop atmospheres. Fans and critics alike ate up their new direction and propelled them to new heights.
But with only one album separating the two distinctly different styles, one could only guess where they'd end up on their third studio effort. As it turns out, the band ended up chasing the same ethereal pop melodies as "Peripheral Vision," albeit with slightly more upbeat tempos and a newfound appreciation for ... R&B?
"Dude, oh man, I'm so glad you're saying that," Turnover frontman Austin Getz told me over the phone one morning. "That's the highest compliment you could pay me. I tried to delve more into older psychedelic rock and R&B and soul stuff and channel that. I'd say those are the new influences on top of the old ones in 'Good Nature.' I'm glad you picked up on that because I was trying to put it down."
It's true: New songs like "Pure Devotion," "Nightlight Girl," "Bonnie (Rhythm & Melody)" and even leadoff single "Super Natural" have a certain type of seduction that was largely missing on their last album.
"That's the part of 'Good Nature' that I'm most stoked about," Getz told me. "At the studio, I was talking to Will [Yip, the album's producer] and I was like, the thing with 'Peripheral Vision,' while I think it's great and I'm very proud of it, is that it's not dynamic enough -- there's not enough grooves to it. It's really drive-y, and I wanted things to have a little bit more rhythm ... I hope other people pick up on that, too."
It's not the only departure from their last album either. When listened to back-to-back, "Good Nature" basically plays out as the buoyant yin to its predecessor's wistful yang.
"Definitely man," Getz agreed. "That's another thing I think about a lot. I think it's natural for an artist to put a lot of themselves into the product. 'Peripheral Vision,' I think that's something I had subconsciously or consciously (or a combination of the two) had a general message I wanted to convey. Maybe I felt a little lost or melancholy. I had a lot of questions and I was unsure about a lot of things.
"Two years later, I have had a lot of time to reflect," he added. "I had some questions and got some answers and 'Good Nature' is kind of the answer to the questions that 'Peripheral Vision' was asking."
It's a strange, intimate dance that reflective songwriters play out on a very public stage, and Getz knows it probably won't end anytime soon.
"I think there's new questions brought about on 'Good Nature' -- and, you know, it's always a wave: Up and down, and there's a crest, and then another trough right afterward. Who knows, maybe the next record will be even deeper and darker and maybe that'll follow that pattern until I put myself in a hole."
Wherever the journey takes him, the guitarist/vocalist is just glad to share it with those who'll appreciate it most -- especially in a concert setting.
"[Playing] live is just an opportunity to feel a whole new connection with [the music]," Getz said. "You're actually creating these audio frequencies that are real energy touching people's ears and making them feel things, you know? I think that's really special and why playing music is so cool."