Friday 13 September 2019

Suggested Friends - Turtle Taxi

Can we, at last, dismiss the idea that DIY is a musical genre with a limited sonic range? DIY's ethic, not its sound, is owning the means of production and saying what has to be said. If it has a sound, it's uncompromising voices shouting from the margins for the under-represented and making the personal political.

Suggested Friends are a DIY band and Turtle Taxi is, if anything, a rock album. It's raw and powerful, by turns raucously punk and rousingly emotional, and always anthemic. Like the Minutemen who covered Van Halen, and Standard Fare who covered Bon Jovi, DIY forebears who freed raw and quiet fury from overproduced, overblown theatrics, Suggested Friends realise the tender potential in noise.

Suggested Friends share a DIY ethic, and a musical excellence, with current bands like Itchy Bugger, Big Joanie, Mope Grooves and U.S. Highball. None of these bands sound like one another, but they each hint at different ways in which DIY music doesn't have to be the antithesis of commercial or popular. That despite its economic origins and outsider voice, DIY music doesn't just preach to a small, converted audience. That greater exposure would in fact achieve DIY's ambition of change.

I genuinely can't tell if Suggested Friends are more likely to have listened to classic AOR like Fleetwood Mac or Boston or whatever you hear on mainstream daytime radio, than they are to have listened to DIY contemporaries Personal Best and Muncie Girls and Sheer Mag. But Turtle Taxi's songs share a common ground with all of these artists in sounding like they were written for car journeys and drunken parties and romantic recriminations.

Can we, at last, remind everyone who claims to support DIY to buy the records or tapes or whatever and, you know, actually buy gig tickets and go to them? Because if as many people who claimed to support DIY actually detrousered some cold hard cash then the scene would be even stronger. And Suggested Friends would, rightly, be heard on mainstream daytime radio.

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