Now Playing: Tourniquet
Topic: New review
This obscure late '70s release on the haunted RPC custom label appears in the Acid Archives 2nd Edition with what is basically a place-holder entry, as we were unable to find a copy or dub thereof. At long last a helpful collector forwarded me a rip, so here goes:
You never know what you're going to get on RPC, and if anything the diversity among the releases seemed to get ever greater as the years passed. From the final days you have things like fringe boner Tone The Bone and the seriously timewarped MHS Rock, and you also have the oddly named Tourniquet. It took several plays for me to wrap my head around this album, not because it is particularly strange, but because it doesn't sound like a custom label disc at all. To begin with, it sounds fairly professional; not quite major label-worthy, but with more time in the studio these guys could probably have worked out the wrinkles (some weak vocals and less than ideal mixing). For the most part Tourniquet sounds like one of those new wave-era bands who could pull almost anything out of the hat and sneak it past the trend jury, as it was modern and genreless enough to seem "OK". So, depending on your politics and mood, Tourniquet sound either like a melodic AOR band or ambitious power-poppers. There's plenty of guitar in the mix, some of it pretty edgy, and also strongly late '70s/early '80s-flavored keyboard (and synth) used mainly for embellishments to the succinct, guitar-driven tracks. The vocals, some solo and some ensemble, are generally pretty good and adequate to the musical style. The lyrics have enough quirky personality to grab your attention after a few plays (I particularly enjoy the second track and it's sugary "You're boring, boring" chorus), and give a certain identity to a disc which runs the risk of sounding like an imitation of a trendy major label band, c1979. My mind wanders towards things like Sniff'n The Tears or the Motors, but it's more a generic period style than anything else. What confused me most were a couple of tracks that sounded quite different from the rest, such as a '60s-flavored number with fine female vocals that pops up out of nowhere (Blondie-inspired?), and two heartfelt ballads with keyboards upfront. The diversity briefly had me thinking of a various artist album like North County Rock Association, but ultimately I think it's clear that Tourniquet is the product of 2-3 guys in New Jersey, who may have recorded this primarily as a demo album; at least that's what it sounds like. One of the main guys apparently received some encouraging feedback from hip UK record label Stiff, which seems reasonable given the modern (for the time) sound and respectable songwriting heard on the album. Some interest in the power-pop/new wave axis is required; despite its utter obscurity there is nothing psychedelic or underground about this. [PL]
Together with a local NYC collector I've attempted to contact the Tourniquet guys, and while they all seem to live in the New Jersey area, no response came to our inquiries.