Not worth the dust the wind blows in their faces, the Turbonegro dudes seize upon the crank’s idea that there’s a career opening for a camp crypto-homosex joke metal band in the States. It’s a model for trivial notoriety that deploys cyclically, always going down to defeat.
Turbonegro are reminiscent of Nudist Priest, a Silver Lake fad of about the same merit in the mid ’90s. Lacking everything but the small balls it took to play Priest tunes clothed only in a few leather straps, Nudist Priest were always good for altie media exposure. The band was also aware of its limitations just enough to keep it local, a virtue not shared by Turbonegro.
Now, whether you relish having your nipples twisted and blood in your crack—as singer Hank from Hell suggests—or not, Turbonegro are just Nudist Priest in clothes and with contract. Lyrics like “He’s such a lusty little hipster” (from “Wipe It ‘Til It Bleeds”) or “If you wanna slay the bourgeois beast, ride with us” are awkward at any rock speed. Stahlhelms and Alsatians complete a parody of no laughs. I wished for “Springtime for Hitler,” but they offered only a TurboJugend T-shirt.
The rockers on Scandinavian Leather are not completely without skill. They do “whoas” and “yeahs” with the best, and the band sounds roaring much of the time. However, listeners anticipating a flaming asshole appropriate to Hank’s Alice Cooper/King Diamond look will be startled by how mild-mannered the sheep he is on record.
Turbonegro play Irving Plaza September 14.