The Earworm: Peripheral Vision by Turnover
Reviewed by Caitlin Reardon
(Run for Cover Records, 2015; Listen Here)
Sometimes I’m annoyed with people who love indie music. Don’t get me wrong, I really love the genre (most of the time). But I believe that some indie/alternative listeners are quite annoying and pompous. It can be hard to distinguish much of the slightly-pretentious indie album from the next slightly-pretentious indie album. Turnover, however, is a band that shows a bit more independence. Before you roll your eyes—I, too, am guilty of thinking that much of the alternative discography that permeates the modern 2010s and 2020s scene is a little too repetitive at times. But Turnover, an indie/alternative rock group, holds a sound that is genuinely unique to their genre.
Their sound is euphoric, nostalgic, and pulls you into their narrative. I remember discovering Turnover when I was a junior in high school. My beloved best friend Emily and I ordered disgusting Denny’s takeout and drove around until four in the morning. Then, a song called Super Natural by Turnover popped up on shuffle. My anxiety escaped me. I absorbed a new kind of bliss.
I fell down the rabbit hole of Turnover’s discography. My favorite album by them to date is called Peripheral Vision. Released in 2015, “Peripheral Vision” illustrates a sort of closure from heartbreak. It gratifies the haunting feeling that moving on, while it is traumatic in ways, can end in triumph. Let’s get into it.
The album opens with “Cutting My Fingers Off,” a graphic imagery that is used as a simile for losing the one you love: “Losing you is like cutting my fingers off.” This song is more so an introductory, giving a small glimpse into the rest of the album’s theme. Sad and almost angsty, the track is an ode to the person that the narrator once loved. The imagery the band uses in their lyrics is simple, making it easy to fill in the gaps of what had happened to this relationship. “You always said that every thought I had was geometric, I couldn't think outside my own lines,” lead singer Austin Getz sings. Such a line makes me believe that while this person is in love, they operate within their own anxiety which overshadowed the relationship. While the song is entirely subjective, I love how it allows for the listener to make up their own mind about what happened with the loose guidelines of the tale.
The instrumentals combined with Getz’s effortlessly dreamlike voice is truly what elevates Turnover’s sound, specifically in “Peripheral Vision.” Along with the wrenching lyrics, the combination of these ingredients melts together into one succinct, curative album. “Humming” is one of my favorite songs that deserves a listen, if not convinced already. Its feeling can be attributed to the whirlwind that one feels in the midst of a mental health crisis. To me, the song represents one of those hopeful highs after a bout of anxiety or depression, only to return shortly to valley lows. The drums carry the track and catapult its message into the adventurous mindset that Getz sings of.
The album always has a steady beat with raw drums that underscore spacey vocals, carrying the story along. Turnover’s sound is almost blurry, an old photograph that you find in your grandmother’s jewelry box—it’s warm, nostalgic, and fleeting all at the same time. Both the dreamy guitar and vocal layers add to the overall aesthetic of their style. While the production is not superbly clean, the feeling that the band communicates is very much alive.
What I love so much about this album is how beautifully the band combines the topics of love and mental health, illustrating the ways in which they coincide with each other. “Dizzy On The Comedown,” yet another song declaring one’s love, goes a bit further than the average love song you might hear on the radio. It describes wanting to be in someone’s presence and learn the ins and outs of their mind, thoughts and behavior. This all-encompassing love can be unhealthy which we hear more of as the album progresses, like in “Diazepam.”
“Diazepam's" sweeping chorus is almost ballad-like in lyricism, but Turnover won’t let you sink. There’s always a beat; “Diazepam” is just a tad more gentle and somber. Getz sings about his love in relation to his anxiety and depression: “I don’t know if I’ll be there for you,” as the title of the track describes he is consumed already with his own thoughts and emotions so much so that he takes anxiety medication. This point in the album is when we as listeners see Getz acknowledge his mental health more respectfully, as he is beginning to realize that he must take care of himself before overloading on other feelings like love where commitment to another person is needed. He simply can’t do this.
“Take My Head” is much darker. The actual melody is rather cheerful and raring to go, with the electric guitar creating a sort of spinning feeling which is highly addictive to listen to. The lyrics, though, are disturbingly poetic and poetically disturbing. Getz seems to be getting at the topic of suicidal thoughts in the worst of a mental health crisis.
The last track, “Intrapersonal,” is one of my favorites on the album. It closes the album and draws conclusions to anxiety and depression all at once. As a person who lives with an anxiety disorder, I really appreciate that I can relate to this song so well. “Out of the mess I grew in my head, afraid I won’t know how to stop,” these words depict perfectly how my brain operates. I think many people who struggle with mental health think that something is wrong with them but we need to recognize that we aren’t alone.
These thought cycles that Turnover identifies are debilitating at times. By recognizing your own struggles and being a bit kinder to yourself, you will start to accept yourself as you are. I love how honest “Peripheral Vision” is, and I love knowing that not only I can rely on it for a good album to play when I feel like dancing, but an album I can play when I want to help heal myself. It’s symbolic of the fact that while anxiety can loom in your peripheral vision in what seems like all of the time, learning to live with and manage it is one profound accomplishment.
Caitlin Reardon is from Southampton, MA and is currently a journalism major at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. Since she was little, Caitlin loved to write and developed a passion for it. Her parents instilled in her from a very young age the importance of music and its uniqueness. Intertwining her love for music with writing, she found a knack for music reviewing through The Daily Collegian where you can find some of her published journalistic works in news and arts. She is very excited to expand her platform to Overheard with The Earworm and is open to article requests on particular albums. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @caitlinreardon.