What do you get when you combine a quartet of rockabilly, blues, swing and folk whose influences include The Police, Tears For Fears The Grateful Dead and The Allman Brothers? Well, Giant Flying Turtles, of course.
It would only make sense that a band with such a diverse variety in influence and sound would hold such a peculiar name. Giant Flying Turtles’ sound is just as unique as their brand.
The Brooklyn indie rockers don’t bound themselves to a specific genre. The best way to describe their newest record, Waltz To The World, is that it’s a fun, high-energy alternative rock collection with a heavy dose of blues and swing.
Maybe it’s the stand up bass, but one of my favorite tracks is “Stay Out Late.”
See? It’s fun. It’s simple. It’s a little ‘jazzy,’ without being over-thought or over-produced. It makes you want to “stay out late.”
There are several other songs on the record that paint such a terrific live picture: “The Devil And Me,” “Three Shades Of Blue,” and “Banjo.” The latter stands out from any other track on the album. From the first note, the song certainly lifts an eyebrow. From that point forward it’s a party, almost like your favorite uncle from the cider festival some how got a group of the finest girls from the tattoo parlor over for a dance party.
Waltz To The World’s strength lies within its ability to draw in that diverse audience. It can do it because of its varied nature. I’ve already listed the tremendous amount of genres that clash together on the record. There’s something for everyone. However, whether it’s the production quality or the song structure, much of the record does have trouble resonating once it gets past the fun of swingy, bluegrass folk.
While influences such as The Allman Brothers and Pink Floyd can be heard, and the unpredictable riffs are admirable, songs like “One Of A Kind” and “Train Song” are simply un-moving. The lyrics get lost. The singing doesn’t quite harmonize as smoothly as one would hope. You’re waiting for a hook that never comes.
But what can I say? I like turtles. I was obsessed with Donatello as a kid. There’s no question GFT has potential to light up the east coast. The piano chops alone blow me away. And they have the right momentum, already with a couple tracks included in popular festival films.
If you’re the type who loves to embrace new sounds, especially ones that make you want to get up and move your feet, Waltz To The World is a record worth listening to. But more importantly, GFT is a band I can already tell one would need to see live in order to get the real experience. I’m certainly looking them up next time I’m in New York.