Heel Turn may describe their sound as influenced by At The Drive In, Sunny Day Real Estate & The Beastie Boys, but personally, I get a distinct Dead Kennedys’ vibe from their energetic hardcore debut EP, ‘A Giant Blue Dragonfly’, which certainly isn’t a bad thing.
There are so many bands out there at the moment attempting a post-punk sound but they just end up sounding like Diet Green Day – and Heel Turn are a breath of fresh air with their unashamed, gritty and instantly likeable tunes.
The term “Heel Turn” is used in wrestling to describe a character switching roles from good guy to bad guy. And the name suits the band perfectly as, throughout the EP, there is an almost schizophrenic switch from measured and crafted vocal to shouted, thrashy laments giving a personal and three-dimensional delivery.
The confident vocals combine with guitarist Sam’s super crunchy guitars, Aaron’s bass lines, and thumping drums that take me back to a much richer time in guitar music than we currently have. From 70’s birth of punk right up to early 2000’s, US hardcore sounds ring out from this collection of tracks.
Although this is the first release for Heel Turn, it has a self-assurance that gives the feel of a well-established outfit.
The band’s first gig was back in late 2017 at TS One, Middlesbrough, and since then they’ve gone from strength to strength; writing, recording, performing and perfecting their original sounds.
“Although this is the first release for Heel Turn, it has a self-assurance that gives the feel of a well-established outfit”
Proudly Middlesbrough-based, the outfit mentioned that they: “take inspiration from [their] life experience and surroundings in Teesside, and the title of the EP is sourced from North East poet Ian Horn’s work, ‘IRONOPOLIS’”.
As if crafting and performing their own brand of retro punk rhythms wasn’t enough, the boys from Heel Turn have also established their own record label, Sad For Life Records. They added: “The aim is not just to release our own material, but to also champion the best and brightest talent from Teesside and beyond”.
To celebrate the launch of this EP, Heel Turn will be hosting a gig at Westgarth Social Club in Middlesbrough on Friday 5th October with support from Whale Hill and Dense. You can also catch them in The Chapel Room at The Middlesbrough Empire on Saturday 3rd November with support from SWEARS, and Saturday 17th November at The Green Room in Stockton.
I for one can’t wait to see them perform soon and hope that they can follow up this debut with some more cracking tunes.
Heel Turn’s ‘A Giant Blue Dragonfly’ EP is available on Spotify, iTunes, Amazon etc. from Friday 5th October.