Dale Turner: Mannerisms Magnified – CD Review
Californian multi-instrumentalist Dale Turner independently released his 42 minute album “Mannerisms Magnified” in 2010. The songs are technically brilliant and when you consider that all of the vocals and instruments were performed by Dale himself, you have to step back and re-evaluate what you think of this material. I’m not surprised it took him four years to complete.
The album begins with an avante garde and jazz influenced a cappella piece, entitled “Brian on the Brain”. Right on cue this segues into “Bad Seed” an up tempo stonking rock anthem, with lush guitar melodies and incredible vocal lines which swoop and dive, dancing around the constants, seemingly effortlessly. The bridges introduce some excellently sublime harmonies and musically, everything is there; tempo and feel changes and key changes left right and centre. Its almost like we are being given a music lesson from Mr Turner. The fourth song “She-hab” is an exquisitely arranged piece with a clever vocal, perfectly structured over the top of an intricate jazz waltz rhythm. The bass occasionally switches to a walking bassline and again its almost like Dale is trying to throw in everything he’s ever learnt about music into one song! Again on cue, Dale introduces a simpler and sentimental piece in the form of fifth track “Hiding Place”. This is delicate and poignant but perhaps more importantly it offers a little contrast and a welcome break from the previous musical onslaughts. I love the atmosphere and mood of this piece and the counter melodies that Dale runs in towards the end, mixed in with some very beautiful chord changes makes this an easy favourite. The seventh song “Morality Rule” again pushes so many boundaries. With an extremely tight acoustic guitar and bass line complete with jellyfish–esque vocal harmony arrangement. All of this is sat atop a very trippy rhythm and if I’m not mistaken Dale uses his extremely versatile voice to poke fun at the heavy metal genre. Lyrically, he has managed to craft one of the most interesting songs I’ve ever heard – managing to condense an American history lesson and debate on ideas on morality into 2 minutes 53 seconds! In perfect contrast, the laid back lilt of “Five Things” presents another ‘mannerism’ in the form of this jazz style tune. The penultimate track “Exit Wound” is a bizarre arrangement rich with melody, rhythm and harmony and even the lyrics are outstanding, yet it is so very inaccessible that it takes several listens to even begin to comprehend. I can understand why it is placed at this point in the album because without some of the earlier avante garde material this would be so confusing. Someone once said that there was a fine line between genius and insanity… this feels like the work of a genius, but I cant help thinking I’ve witnessed elements of the insane at the same time!
It is hard to fault the production on this CD and nobody could doubt Turner’s exceptional talent. This is far from a commercial product – in that, consumers like to pigeon hole music and like to find a simplistic catchy hook line to keep them singing along. Personally speaking, I grow tired of mundane and re-hashed bubble gum rock and I’m glad that artists like Dale Turner are sticking two fingers up at convention and making a stand. Having listened through this album several times, I conclude that the world is just not ready for Dale Turner yet!!! It’s almost like there are a couple of missing links in the evolutionary chain between where we are right now – and what Dale is offering here!
Overall this is a very impressive release by Dale Turner and one that I can’t praise enough. If you are the kind of person who is completely open to new and interesting musical experiences, if you are not bound by conventions and willing to accept music which really pushes hard against the envelope, then this could be the most exciting thing you’ve heard in a long time as well. I would be interested to find out if this is a one-off for Dale or if he intends writing more material like this… its certainly going to be on my iPod for a long time to come!
This review was written by Neil Thomas for the Rock n Roll View.