THE COLORADO DAILY, (August 28, 2003):
TURN PALE - 'Kill the Lights' CD
What's in a name? Really, it shouldn't matter what a band calls itself, so long as the music it makes is worth listening to. But getting people - the right people - to listen to a record should be Job One for any band that hopes to sell records.
What the members of Turn Pale were hoping to convey with the band's name is unclear. Again, it doesn't really matter once you hear the CD, "Kill the Lights." By then it's clear this is not a Goth or death-metal band, as the name seems to imply. Turn Pale's music is more like down-tempo, brooding disco or some sort of coffeehouse-poetry-night-performance gone awry. There are hints of Joy Division's foggy pop swagger, but only here and there throughout the record.
The rest is harder to describe. "Kill the Lights" has the organized sloppiness and off-the-cuff feel of Beat Happening, combined with the jangly guitar and syncopation of Scratch Acid.
It's weird, but good. And even better with the help of the accompanying lyric sheet. Most of the lyrical content on "Kill the Lights" is rambling, without rhyme or, seemingly, reason. The songs tend to be narratives, describing uncomfortable situations and the burdens of everyday life, as seen by a man with a chip on his shoulder but a song in his heart. Reading these words, you get the distinct impression these are the things he'd like to say, but can't due to societal mores. Certainly some of these thoughts could be relationship- or job-ending if given legs.
Probably the best example of this is "End of Words," the story of a man who wants nothing more than for a woman (girlfriend, wife, mother-in-law: we don't know) to shut the hell up, or as singer Michael Anderson puts it, "embrace a life of silence." His description of this woman is both hilarious and a little off-putting, thanks to the reverb effect on the vocals.
"It's all, 'talk, talk, talk, yack, yack, yack, blah, blah, blah, blah,'" Anderson barks.
On another track, Anderson speaks internally again, imploring himself not to kick the lights out. For the sake of his family and friends, I hope he's getting all of this aggression out in his music or consulting a professional therapist.
All of this is meant as an avid endorsement of Turn Pale and "Kill the Lights." But be warned: This record requires full commitment. It isn't good background music. You'll either turn it up, or turn it off. The former is the better option of the two.
- Oakland L. Childers