Album Review: The Turbans – s/t [Six Degrees Records; April 2018]

The Turbans announce their arrival with an eclectic self-titled debut album, which takes inspiration from all around the world. Released on Six Degrees Records on April 6th, The Turbans’ whirlwind album is similar to taking a trip around the world in 80 days.

You may struggle to find a corner of the globe that The Turbans do not have an association with. Finding a succinct style or genre can raise complications for the eclectic seven-piece, but, taking inspiration from Balkan, Klezmer, Gypsy and other sundry styles, The Turbans create unique, hard-hitting music.

Its core members, acoustic guitarist Oshan ‘Danger’ Mahony and violinist Darius Luke Thompson, originally met in Kathmandu, and then busked their way through India, picking up a collection of musicians along the way. After seven years of expansive touring across the planet, including India, Hong Kong, the Middle East, Europe and North America, The Turbans have delivered a sensational genre-hopping debut album focusing, perhaps unsurprisingly, on politics and friendships spanning across international borders.

Opening track ‘Riders’ sets the pace for the rest of the record, carefully adding exotic guitar sounds as an undercurrent for compelling vocals with added chanting to give the soundscape a tribal feel.

Second track ‘Sinko Moy’ has direct influences from Bulgaria. Translated as “My Son”, the track calls upon traditional Bulgarian folklore and creates a paradoxically tense yet safe environment within the sound.

Final track ‘Hackney’ seems to have a more localised feel. Upon listening, however, The Turbans have remained faithful to their engaging mystical sound. The record plays like an extended holiday across many continents, yet still manages to retain a personal feel, appealing to a wide variety of audiences.

Overall, The Turbans have produced an inventive collective sound worthy of praise and attention. The group have clearly worked hard to make this album possible. However, it takes more than simple sweat and hard work to have an album championed and recognised. Fortunately for The Turbans, their debut effort is packed with quality from start to finish. Hopefully, we can hear more on their next endeavour.