“Actions,” Turn to Crime’s second musical effort, is probably not for everyone, and even then it will probably attract a small core following with its very unique synth-pop and experimental sound. The band takes influences from ‘80s pop and even as far as ‘60s psychedelia. In Turn to Crime’s second album, though, this well-known sound marries an alternative-rock, post-punk sound, producing an overall striking experience that attempts to appeal to diverse music tastes.
With only seven tracks, “Actions” is a very short album. Yet I feel that’s the perfect amount of songs in an album for an experimental band such as Turn to Crime. The album starts off on a very dark ‘80s vibe track called “This Is What You Wanted,” and it’s all very experimental. This type of tone and music that comes from the track will no doubt put off some first-time listeners as one has to be patient with the track as it takes awhile to start. The titular track “This Is What You Wanted” are repeated throughout in a moody, broody voice, with some dark pop synth and a few guitar licks in the background. It almost goes to the point of psychedelic, which is something that’s revisited later on as well. It’s the opening track on the album, and it is the most divisive track by far.
The album’s alternative-rock, post-punk tracks are very welcoming following the dark opening and in the process make the album more accessible to first-time listeners of the band’s immediate niche genre. Quite a few tracks have this Strokes-inspired sound such as the guitar-dancing, garage rock-inspired “Prince of Slackers” and the even more upbeat and laidback track, “Without a Care.” “Light,” another track, takes some of these garage rock sounds but also throws them in a pit with classic rock solos and cooks up a loud drum-thumping track. These tracks are the more rock-inspired songs, and in an album that likes to give us a variety of genres, they make for some of the best.
Speaking of best tracks, “Actions” is by far the best song. It’s fitting, as the title track of the album is tonally different from the rest of the songs. It’s an electric pop track with beautiful melodic guitar work in the background. The imagery it radiates is that of evening commutes or walks when the sun sets. The lyrics “Actions speak louder than words” are repeated throughout the chorus. Unfortunately, the band likes to repeat lyrics with many of their songs.
Quite a few tracks have the knack of repeating their lyrics over and over, which seemingly go nowhere. “Actions,” “Prince of Slackers,” “This Is What You Wanted” and “Without a Care” are the major abusers of this. Perhaps Turn to Crime repeat their lyrics to get the message across. Well, we get the message, but with it comes unnecessary repetitiveness that plagues many of the songs. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t. It makes the lyrics seem lazily done and uncreative. The last song “Feels Right” is dangerous considering this, as lyric repetition is the basis of the whole song. It has a psychedelic feel a la “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band,” with trippy ‘60s synth and voices crossfading with each other, complete with erratic and random guitar riffs and licks toward the end. In this case, it was probably the band’s intention and it was successful in doing that.
Overall, the sounds Turn to Crime manage to produce on their second musical effort are very distinct from many up-and-coming artists. No doubt some will be turned off by their immediate sound, but Turn to Crime’s “Actions” does have the spark that will make many others fall in love with their small, independent sound.
Rating: 3.5 stars