Research Turtles – Mankiller, Part 2 of 2 (EP) (2012)

Brit-styled power pop has been making undiluted rock bouncy and fun since the Beatles and “Can’t Buy Me Love” took the world by storm in 1963. New wave bands that emerged at the end of the 70s such as Squeeze The Cars, The Romantics and The Knack reminded us of why we went apeshit over the Fab Four, The Who and the Kinks when they first burst onto the scene. New Wave, power pop, Brit Rock, whatever you want to call it, is still with us (Oasis, anyone?) and there are still fresh acts popping up to keep the music alive and vital. One of the most promising ones out there these days come not from the UK or the Northeast or even L.A., but from the zydeco-soaked environs of Southwestern Louisiana, and they call themselves the Research Turtles.

The Lake Charles-based Research Turtles are headed up by Jud Norman. who sings lead, plays bass and writes irresistibly confectionary tunes. Joseph Darbonne (guitar & vocals), Logan Fontenot (guitar & Vocals) and Chad Townsend (drums) complete the combo. The Turtles specialize in stuffing a lot of guitar-driven feet-moving catchiness in concentrated, two-and-a-half minute packages. Their self-titled debut album came out in 2009, and a cut from that disc, “Let’s Get Carried Away”, was named The Song of the Year by Radio Six International our of Great Britain, so evidently music obsessives from the country of the origin of their music are sufficiently impressed.

Since that debut album, the Research Turtles have put together a couple of EP’s, Mankiller, Part 1 in 2011 and just this past October, Mankiller, Part 2. These EP’s give us more of the same fresh, energetic rock ‘n’ roll found on the full-length effort, and Part 2 even introduces keyboardist, Wesley Royer and a new drummer, Chad Townsend. After the short, acoustic guitar-led drum-less “Guy Like Me,” are five hooked-filled, danceable rockers ranging from “The Fancy,” (which reminds me of another great Southern based power pop band of an earlier time, The Producers) to a perfect pogo dance vehicle called “Space.”

Sounds good, huh? If you want to investigate the Research Turtles further on your own, now is the right time. For the time being, they have made their entire discography available for a free download — including Norman’s recently issued solo album Baby Step — for free.

Research Turtles – Mankiller, Part 2 of 2, as do all Research Turtles releases, come to us via Normanium Records. Visit their website for more info.

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S. Victor Aaron

S. Victor Aaron is a CPA and mid-level data analyst for a Fortune 100 company by day, music opinion-maker at night. His musings are strewn out across the interwebs on jazz.com, AllAboutJazz.com, a football discussion board and some inchoate customer reviews of records from the late 1990s on Amazon under a pseudonym that will never be revealed. Contact Something Else! at reviews@somethingelsereviews.com.
  • Roger Thomason

    Jud Norman and the Research Turtles are the best kept secret in rock.