These Virginia veterans and Small Stone mainstays have just put out their first album in almost seven years. Turncoat is album number five from this heavy-rock outfit, and their fourth for the Detroit label, to which they’ve been signed almost since the turn of the century. (They have the distinction of covering “Black Betty” on the original Sucking the 70s comp.) But if you’ve completely forgotten about Throttlerod by now, you’re probably not alone—I for one was not aware they were still a going concern.
That seven-year recording hiatus has allowed them to amass a significant amount of material—we’re talking 12 tracks spanning over 56 minutes. Opener “Bait Shop” follows a familiar stoner-rock groove, coming off as a cross between Gozu and Borracho. “Lazy Susan” is slightly more reminiscent of AmRep than Small Stone with its piercing, jagged riffage, though it still contains a solid smoke-em-if-ya-got-em chorus. “Never Was a Farmer” is a grittier, gloomier, five-minute number, late 90’s post-grunge with a slightly heavier chorus. The title track takes a similar approach, with a mellow, stripped-down verses building up to a weightier refrain, and a groovy tempo change right around the four-minute mark. This one kinda reminds me of Audioslave or Alice in Chains.
“You Kicked My Ass at Losing” gets back to the mid-paced stoner grooves of the opening track, which sees the band at their best. But they don’t stay there long; “Gainer” is another chip off the noise-rock block, falling a bit more on the lighter side, while “Every Giant” is a decent piece of shouty grunge, leaning more toward Mudhoney than Nirvana. The rest of the record plays out in similar 90’s alt-rock fashion. Not exactly what I was expecting.