I can’t help but feel like Haunted Stereo should’ve been the band name and Turnip should’ve been the album title. But semantics aside, the San Antonio group’s second album sounds like stoner rock played through a shoegaze lens. Both genres are rooted in textures and psychedelic effects, but Turnip is less distorted and more melodic than their peers. The overall production sounds rather muffled and the vocals have a gentle, dreamlike quality that recalls a restrained Josh Homme.
Thankfully, the band dynamic works well with this different approach. The mix may sound distant and there are moments where the musicians come together to form climactic blurs of sound, but each instrument finds a way to stand out. The bass may be the most dominant instrument, driving many of the rhythms while the guitar focuses on trippy leads and occasionally chiming in on the heavier riffs. There is also a western feel that can be felt throughout, appropriate considering Turnip’s origin state.
While Haunted Stereo could hardly be called an aggressive album, it does boast some heavy, bluesy riffs. The album really gets going with “You Never Were” and “No Right,” which bring in more straightforward grooves after the opening songs’ more atmospheric feel. From there, “The Wolves Will Come” has a meditative beginning that goes into bluesy overdrive while “Cold Fire” and “Blood on the Road” feature the album’s most traditional stonerisms and close the album on a grungy note.
It’s tricky to tell if Turnip’s more alternative rock approach to stoner blues was intentional, but it does make for a great album. It’d be easy to let the instruments blur completely together and lose the songwriting in the process, but the balanced mix keeps this from happening and the memorable riffs allow for repeat listens. I imagine fans of groups like All Them Witches, Merlin, and Elephant Tree will find this to be an enjoyably relaxing listen. Chill rock music for a desert night.
”You Never Were”
“The Wolves Will Come”
“Blood on the Road”