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It's about time that Nashville's Turbo Fruits get their due, wouldn't you say? Not that the raucous, grimy garage merchants haven't grabbed the attention of a fair number, with their first two full-lengths, a self-titled in 2007 and 2009's Echo Kid. But really, with their fellow Volunteer Staters JEFF the Brotherhood having reached major label promised land and Jay Reatard having, R.I.P., earned himself a lasting place in the hearts of indie rock fans, to say nothing of the 21st Century arena behemoths that Kings of Leon became, Tennessean Jonas Stein and his bros' number, you would think, just might be called.
That well may happen with Butter, a third album just about as simultaneously delicious and unhealthy as its namesake. While losing none of its honky tonk, bikes-and-babes edge (in fact there's an ode to bikes in single "Harley Dollar Bill$"), this time around Turbo Fruits up the pop ante just enough. It's certainly apparent on the perfectly sunny "She Said Hello" and "Catch and Release", on opener "Where the Stars Don't Shine", a power pop rave-up on which Stein's vocals recall that croonery register of Arctic Monkeys' Alex Turner, and on the jangly "Gotta Get Along", which nods to the fellas' friends Strange Boys.
They've hardly gone soft though. The punk-fueled, "Don't Like to Fight", "Gamble Tamble" and "Ain't the Only One Havin' Fun"--the record's hardest track and one of its best--are ample reminders there's plenty of turbo in the tank.
Helping achieve this new balance is the ubiquitous Jim Eno from Spoon, at whose Austin studios Butter was recorded. In fact Austin, where the boys will end up their current eastern US tour, seems as though it's become a second home for the band, when they're not in Nashville. Or of course, out on the high seas, where for the past two years Stein has captained the Bruise Cruise, the floating garage party to the Bahamas that seems to have spurred countless imitators. Noisevox has been there both years, and we're aiming to make it three in 2013.
Meantime, slather on the Butter, and hope that more of the world than ever steps up for a bite of Turbo Fruits.