REVIEW: Reckless Love – Turborider

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We all enjoy a bit of ’80s nostalgia every now and then, no matter if it is metal, rock, or even pop. I’m talking about the highlights of the era as well as the guilty pleasures, and everything else in between. Finnish sleaze rock/hair metal act RECKLESS LOVE have taken that nostalgic feeling and ran wild with it for the course of four albums. On March 25th, 2022, the band will release some more ’80s-infused sentimentality in the form of their fifth studio effort, “Turborider,” out via AFM Records.  

With artwork as colorful and vibrant as this album has, there’s no mistaking the musical framework of this album. So, rest assured that the songs are matching the neon colors with reckless abandon and foolhardy determination. They are going all-in on this “high-energy, synth-wave-infused rock with an undeniable ’80s touch” -type of vibe. Add to that some game-inspired sounds and you got yourself a rather genre-specific album. Heck, even the videos released so far are cheesy and overwhelmingly purplish to go with the games/retro feel of the music. It’s fair to say that the aesthetical and musical choices for “Turborider” may not be everyone’s cup of tea but you at least have to respect the band’s moxie for sticking to their vision.    

Latest single and title/opening track “Turborider” displays at once all the elements that are used throughout the album, including vocal effects, keyboard sampling, and cheesy lyrics, making for a very brazen and direct statement of intent, to say the least. Luckily, the next tracks and prior singles – “Eyes of a Maniac” and “Outrun” – showcase how well the band managed to copy the sounds and moods of pop-rock songs from that decade, down to the underlying keyboard melodies, uplifting choruses, and disco ambiance. Up next, “Kids of the Arcade” is all about the games of the 1980s with lyrics detailing what was like going to play Arcade games, something most of us only know about from movies. As expected, it uses a lot of sharp sounds, samples, and vocal effects on top of a heavier instrumental side. However, when it comes to video games music I still prefer AMARANTHE’s “PvP” over (any of) this. 

Bark at the Moon” should be a familiar title for almost everybody as this is indeed a cover of Ozzy Osborne’s classic song. But instead of a straightforward rock number, we get a reimagined version with a lot of synth-work and dance beats that almost bury the main melody and central riff. I’m all for artists putting their own stamp on covers, but this… just no. Mid-tempo pop-rockers “Like a Cobra” and “For the Love of Good Times” could easily be played at a retro party without feeling out of place in the setlist. More sunshine/beach pop than hard rock, “89 Sparkle” has a feel-good vibe and it’s one of the rare places on the album where the use (or rather overuse) of vocal effects makes sense.

Honestly, the synths and dance beats are fun and enjoyable, but the fact that almost every song has this computerized layer added to the vocals does take its toll on the ear after a while, especially if you’re listening to this with headphones. And for an album with a runtime of 35 minutes, that says a lot. Speaking of, the chorus of “Future Lover Boy” feels like it’s mostly computer generated and not actually sang in the studio. Dialing down on all things sugary and upping up the hard rock element, anthemic “Prodigal Sons” is a heavier and edgier number than most everything else on “Turborider,” and definitely a breath of fresh air after all that synth-wave melodrama.

Either a love letter to the 1980s or parody of that particular soundscape, this album is a bit listener-specific as it doesn’t cater to everyone’s taste. Some may really enjoy what they hear, others maybe not so much, while a few may feel overwhelmed by the over-the-top soundscape. This will probably be a “love it or hate it” -type of album. RECKLESS LOVE took a pretty big risk coming out of their 5-year slumber with such a record and only time can tell if their gamble paid off or not.   

Written by Andrea Crow

Tracklist

  1. Turborider
  2. Eyes of A Maniac
  3. Outrun
  4. Kids of The Arcade
  5. Bark at The Moon
  6. Prelude (Flight of The Cobra)
  7. Like A Cobra
  8. For The Love of Good Times
  9. ’89 Sparkle
  10. Future Lover Boy
  11. Prodigal Sons

Line-up

  • Olli Herman – vocals
  • Pepe Reckless – guitars
  • Jalle Verne – bass
  • Hessu Max – drums

Label

AFM Records

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