The Turn-Ons 

East

Nobody can say that Seattle's Turn-Ons let moss grow on their fashionable boots -- East, their third endeavor, is a leap year away from their previous work. Gone are the T-Rex romps, Mick Ronson-ish guitar leads, and bare-bones production; now the band is digging into the archives of Seattle's pre-grunge musical history, back when the city was an isolated musical island with a strong Paisley Underground scene. Long-forgotten bands like Feast, Pure Joy, and Weather Theater produced sonic bombardments on par with anything from Los Angeles and Liverpool, only to be passed over when Sub Pop rose to power and the scene became overrun by frat boys in flannel.

But even though the production is lush and the instruments heavily treated, East still retains that classic Turn-Ons sound, with all the hooks and melodies they're known for. Bassist Sharon Oshima holds down the entire album with her solid and melodic playing, allowing multi-instrumentalist Erik Blood to freak out like the madman he is. Blasting off with "Skyscraper," East grows in intensity with each song, and then, like a perfect psychedelic trip, ends mellow and romantic with "Sunday Afternoon." The Turn-Ons haven't abandoned their genre -- they've expanded it, and emerge a better band for it. This would've been the best album of 1984.

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