RockNRoll MachineTurbonegro
RockNRoll Machine
Burger Records

Turbonegro has had a career that bands twice their age couldn’t dream of achieving. They’ve reached insane levels of popularity, released hit records, crashed and burned, reunited bigger than ever, lost a very popular singer to madness, dipped back into obscurity, only to rise again with a new frontman and an invigorated sound. With RockNRoll Machine, Turbonegro has taken three decades of sexual innuendo, glam, balls-to-the-wall guitars, shock, awe and Scandinavian leather and created a perfect melding of all that is great about the rock ‘n’ roll. What’s more, vocalist Tony Sylvester has solidified his place in the Turbonegro canon and can take solace in the fact that no one will ever consider him a replacement singer.

Where the last band’s last record, Sexual Harassment, harkened back to the band’s earliest records like Hot Cars & Spent Contraceptives, due largely to the rawness of Sylvester’s vocals, RockNRoll Machine does a full 180. The new album leans hard on the new-wave grooves that the band flirted with on Party Animal. Rather than an homage here and there, they just ripped the bandaid off and let their freak flag fly. This shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone listening to the group these past few years. Turbonegro tested the waters by releasing the pop-heavy “Special Education” and “Hot for Nietzche.” Both songs are included here, along with nine other tracks that run the gamut from traditional punk to orgasmic synth bliss. 

RockNRoll Machine opens with an epic three-part journey that culminates with the tale of an omniscient machine designed to do one thing — Rock! The theme is carried throughout the record, particularly the ’80s-tinged masterpiece, “John Carpenter Power Ballad,” a flawless tribute to the sci-fi soundtracks that ruled my youth. Without a doubt, this could have been on regular rotation in 1985. “Let the Punishment Fit the Behind” and “On the Rag” are a treat for old fans that miss the double entendres that defined Turbonegro in the late ’90s and “Hurry Up & Die” is a balls to the wall rocker spotlighting Euroboy’s ability to slay any punk guitarist working today. The tune is also very reminiscent of later Donnas tunes (RIP). Luckily, we have Turbonegro to continue to fly the flag of rock ‘n’ roll. That is until they are replaced by the RockNRoll Machine. Only time will tell.  

George’s note: This review is based on the streaming version of the record. I’ll have any updates once I get it on vinyl.