Blue Turtle Seduction: 13 Floors

By: Dennis Cook

Sometimes the grooviest things hide in plain sight. Pigeonholed as a jam band some time ago, Blue Turtle Seduction is actually a first order 21st century party band, drawing heavily from the undulating slink of The Clash, the grinning hop of Outkast and the whiskey spilling acoustic rock of The Pogues. Anchored to interlocked vocals and a buoyant sway, 13 Floors is a good time, plain and simple, and a finely crafted studio effort that hints at their true depths.

Positively possessed with imparting an enjoyable experience, it's easy to miss the sharper, more angular elements in Blue Turtle. For the longest time I thought they had no darkness, all sunshine and skipping, but spend time with "Rome" or "Stop Drop And Roll" and you pick up on some quality post-millennial tension, genuine apprehension about the shit storm on humanity's horizon. That they encase these shadowy thoughts in pleasant casings is a neat trick. It's easy to be mopey; writing an effective sad song is shooting fish in a barrel. If you can slip a spot of observant blackness past folks with a lil' candy coating then the medicine might actually go down. There's a pleasant duality to 13 Floors, where serious guys make fun music that doesn't sacrifice lyrical substance for all its basic enjoy ability.

The mixture of folksy instrumentation (fiddle, mandolin, harmonica) with a muscled up rhythm section and sinewy, barbed electric guitar recalls the early '70s heyday of British folk-rock given a post hip-hop twist. Their harmonies echo the '60s Greenwich Village folk scene punctured by an MC's staccato cadence. It is their own hybrid, and as such it feels a little alien the first few times you encounter it. That said, over time one begins to appreciate that BTS is breaking new ground, and at the very least deserves credit for being one of the few bands on the touring circuit that gives strong attention to their vocals.

Standouts include "Foot By Foot" (a lively journey into many strange canyons of the heart), "Castaway" (an island accented variation on a stew pot of traditional folk imagery), "Rome" (a fiddlin' dance number for the end of empires), "El Camino" (a rousing weirdo's reel that feels like running down a hill with a drink in your hand), "Perfect Gentlemen" (a nifty cover of Wycleff Jean's stripper ditty) and 13-minute closer "Roses > Big Belt Buckle" (a jam vehicle lit with mirror ball lights, John Williams quotations and blues-rock chug that ends with a "Middle Earth Jam" that's pretty amusing). Sink into this music over the course of a whole album and you discover a band making their own sound. It's hard to draw exact parallels and isn't that really what we want from any band, a unique form of artistic expression? Blue Turtle Seduction has found their voice and this release only makes one genuinely curious about the fine outbursts to come.

JamBase | Lake Tahoe
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http://www.blueturtlemusic.com/

[Published on: 9/12/08]

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Comments

phunkle starstarstarstarstar Fri 9/12/2008 08:15AM
+3 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

phunkle

Nice review. Only know these guys by name and have never heard anything by them. Plan to check em out now and see what they're about.

Teabagger starstarstarstarstar Fri 9/12/2008 08:41AM
+4 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

Teabagger

Go see these guys. Completely unique sound, like nothing else out there. I think Seductive is an acurate description.

Come to the midwest BTS!

fydo1974 starstarstarstarstar Fri 9/12/2008 09:52AM
+5 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

fydo1974

I saw these guys open up for New Monsoon at The Fillmore last January. At the end of one song they went into a jam based on the James Bond theme which was a lot of fun. That show and several others are available for download at archive.org if you want to check them out for free.

RothburyWithCheese starstarstarstarstar Fri 9/12/2008 12:50PM
+3 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

RothburyWithCheese

It's great to see a review on these guys. Theyre awesome. If you havent heard them check them out!

n-1 starstarstarstarstar Fri 9/12/2008 01:38PM
+4 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

this band is dope

rowjimmytour starstarstarstarstar Fri 9/12/2008 04:05PM
+2 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

rowjimmytour

Nice article and nice to see the turtle come out of his West coast shell and get exposed to other lands. Bring your dance shoes and go see Turtle when they come to your town.

Peace

iwantstogetfunkedup Fri 9/12/2008 10:12PM
+1 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

My friend Ross from Maui got picked up to do sound for these guys while they were on tour in Hawaii and they kept him around for good. I've never heard them but Ross speaks highly of the band which is good enough for me...

Colonel Redbeard Sat 9/13/2008 01:14AM
+2 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

Colonel Redbeard

"strong attention to their vocals"

hrmmmm

breadloaf Sun 9/14/2008 05:43AM
+2 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

Dennis, I think you sold me on giving this one a spin. This is one of those bands that I hear about without ever actually hearing their music. Thanks for the review, as always.

salmon401 starstarstarstarstar Mon 9/15/2008 08:49AM
+2 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

salmon401

I just saw these guys for the first time at Mulberry Mt. Fest, thought they were great. They were also suppose to have a late night set that I was really looking forward to, but I did not stick around with the hurricane heading in, I think the set got cancelled. I will definitely be picking up some of their albums.