More splendid review action

Another cracking review for the album, this time from the GIGglepics website...

Stuart Turner and the Flat Earth Society – The Art and Science of Phrenology – Review


Stuart Turner and the Flat Earth Society – The Art and Science of Phrenology – Review

Aidan Hehir

Reviewer on behalf of GIGgle Pics

The Medway music scene boasts some fantastic bands and comprises an unusually eclectic mix; Stuart Turner and the Flat Earth Society exemplify both. They’ve managed to make music that draws on an array of styles which is bewilderingly difficult to categorise. There’s elements of punk, bluegrass, grunge, folk and pop, but I guess the overriding theme is blues; wicked blues, devoid of contrivance and as powerful as hooch.

“The Art and Science of Phrenology” – released through Vacilando ’68 Records – is an exceptional album; unashamedly odd and uniquely infectious. The band’s most immediately arresting element is Turners voice; it’s some kind of malevolent Southern-Delta-sounding growl born of too much moonshine and alligator steaks that makes Tom Waits seem tame. It sounds like cheap rum tastes, unlike anything I’ve heard before and yet, somehow, it fits the music perfectly. Stuart Turner and the Flat Earth Society are much more than just a voice, though; the songs are engaging, evocative and the vast number of musicians that make up the Flat Earth Society clearly know their stuff.

The album – the band’s third – bristles with energy and it’s often a triumphant call to dance; many of the songs – like “Mindspikes”, “The Making of Landscape” and “Dichotomy” – are propelled by thunderous stomping rhythms that call for drunken revelry. “Song for Long Term Relations” is best described as an aggressive ode to love, “Gunville Girl” is intoxicatingly catchy without being pop or twee, while “Sunrise” is a kind of demented lullaby. At times it’s difficult to work out how songs as odd as this could work; “Diminished Responsibility”, for example, has a dream-like ethereal quality with Turner pouring forth quick-fire soliloquys before periodically lapsing into primal screams. “Animalistic” is perhaps the album’s oddest number comprising a series of beast-related idioms – including “the insight of a bat”, “as foul as a battery hen”, “sober as a jackal” – which I am determined to use liberally.  “The Gospel According to Us” and “The Get Out” are the most conventional songs though Turner’s vocals renders everything somewhat askance. “Walking Through Snow (To Get To You)” – probably my favourite – is a beautiful, subtle love song with Turner’s lyrics floating over a harmonic ode. The album ends with “The Mingulay Boat Song” a rousing sea-shanty that evokes images of small quay-side pubs swaying to gnarled fishermen stomping across saw-dust speckled floors.

Stuart Turner and the Flat Earth Society deserve national recognition and if there’s any justice in the music industry – and this appears not to be the case – then their latest album will help them achieve it. Throughout the album love, loss, lust and anger collide with Turner sounding variously like a murderous Hillbilly or a melancholy troll, but always uniquely engaging. They are brilliant live but for the agoraphobics out there, they also managed to find time to make a video for each of the 15 songs on the album! You could/should also buy the album and invite something fantastically original into your home.

Stuart Turner and the Flat Earth Society on Facebook - Official website:

Vacilando ’68 on Facebook - Vacliando ’68 Official website

Leave a comment

Add comment