REVIEW: Dale Turner - Mannerisms Magnified
Origin: Los Angeles, CA
Here's an album that was released last year, yet I received it this year and it feels completely fresh. Not that music has drastically changed in a year's time, but it's hard to find artists like Dale Turner these days. Amidst the infiltration of overly layered beats and innocuous teen idol drudgery blocking true musicality comes the talented singer-songwriter Turner, a multi-instrumentalist in the vein of Jon Brion who seems to find the perfect marriage of musical arrangement and composition, creating this kind of leveled harmony that your ear drums gladly give you thanks. He's clearly got a good ear for what needs to be said and performed to achieve said marriage, and his true "solo" album, Mannerisms Magnified, showcases his talent and penmanship for creating alternative music.
In reading his biography, this album took four years to produce. That's got to be a lingering amount of time to get an album out for a debuting artist, but the results are very fine tuned. This is all done by Turner himself, which is mightily impressive when you hear every stem as if it were performed in-house by performing musicians. But nope, this is Turner's field, even going as far as to engineer the album to provide exactly what he wants. If that's not talent, then I don't know what is.
And the music itself? It begins with "Brian On The Brain," which appears as an homage to Brian Wilson-esque vocal harmonies, and then it rushes fully into "Bad Seed." We're at track two and I feel as if I've started listening to the late Jeff Buckley's Grace. It's not so much the way Turner softly but effectively vocalizes, but even the intricate, mellow guitar work that so hauntingly marked "Grace" and "Last Goodbye" are apparent here. This isn't a case of an artist simply imitating Buckley, but rather showcasing his passion for such an influence. Mind you, again, this was created stem by stem, all by Turner.
Things spread out across Mannerisms Magnified to the point where - even though you may think you know where it's going - you can't easily predict its direction. To put it simply, this really is just a great set of songs over 42 minutes. Turner provides a little of everything here like slower melodies "Hiding Place" and "Five Things" and upbeat tunes such as "Morality Rule" and "Exit Wound", but he still retains an alternative sensibility throughout, always leaving behind a trail of great 90's influences like Elliott Smith and early Radiohead. It's hard to find fault here, as hearing each track is like listening to an artist so hard at work, and the work so eloquently paying off.
Mannerisms Magnified may be the perfect title to such a record that's ambitious and yet feels so close to home - yet another feat from Mr. Turner's creative abilities. It's a surprising breath of fresh air that really brings a new voice forward through the heavily impacted world of music, and for good reason. This is a calm and collected batch of alternative music that doesn't really require much other than to admire and behold, and I believe Turner is going to head into new territories once this gets the exposure it deserves.
Dale Turner - "Bad Seed"
Dale Turner - "Morality Rule"
Mannerisms Magnified is now available through CD Baby, iTunes, and Amazon via Intimate Audio.