The Turbo A.C.’s – “Winner Take All”

The Turbo A.C.’s are a punk band out of NYC, and they sound like it.  Fast classic rock ‘n’ roll riffs, with some definite surf rock influences.  It’s your old school 50s style rock played on 45 instead of 33 1/3.  It’s simple, basic, and just a tiny bit sloppy, like the perfect cheeseburger or making out in the car when you were a teenager.

The band supposedly took their name from one of the gangs in the 1979 cult classic film The Warriors, which probably explains the intro to the first record of this double album that pulls the famous clip of gang leader Cyrus addressing the masses – “Can you dig it?!?!”  If you’ve never seen The Warriors, it’s pretty amazing.  One gang is falsely accused of murdering Cyrus and is forced to run the gauntlet through New York City at night to reach the safety of their home turf.  Oh, and did I mention every gang is a “theme gang”?  It has to be seen to be believed, and preferably with a six pack and a few friends so you can share in a laugh or two.

Winner Take All is the band’s second full length release, and it appears there are multiple versions.  The one I have is the double record with 21 tracks total – which appears to be much longer than the single record and CD versions.  That’s good news for me, because I think The Turbo A.C.’s kick ass, so the more songs the better.

The music on Winner Take All is driving with straight forward rhythms punctuated in brief bursts by some fancy guitar work and feedback.  The lyrics are about going full speed, all the time, with cars and booze and people hot on your tail.

I don’t think, I know.
I’ll live fast ‘n’ die slow.
Don’t look back, hit the road.
— “Hit the Road”

I’m a mean mistreater,
I drive a Nova beater,
I’ll blow this town,
You won’t see me again.

I’m a whiskey taster,
And I’m a money waster,
Over the top,
Under the table again.
— “Mean Mistreater”

My favorite track by far is “St. Lewis,” which I feel like I’ve heard somewhere before on TV – maybe in a commercial?  I couldn’t find anything about it online (though to be clear I probably spent 60 seconds looking), and maybe it just sounds like some other song.  I don’t know, but I do know it kicks ass, so if you’re going to check out only one song from these guys, I’d suggest starting there (you can find it on YouTube).  If you like it, you’ll like what Winner Take All is about.  And if not, there’s no hope for you and you should just start watching Lawrence Welk Show reruns and blowing bubbles.

There are multiple CD versions of Winner Take All.  It appears the 13 songs on the first record constitute the core of the album, though some of the later discs included “bonus” tracks in the form of most of the songs that appear on side C of the two-record set.  If you check it out on iTunes, you can get 18 songs – all of sides A-C from this version of the vinyl (the original vinyl was also limited to just 13 songs).  So if you’re interested in buying the album, make sure to get a version of the CD with the extra tracks or get it on iTunes, if for no other reason than they include the killer Dick Dale-esque surf rock instrumental “Exodus,” which is fantastic.