Speak 4 Yourself (self-released)
With their latest album, self-proclaimed "groovus rock" duo Turning Force offers up a cool collection of bluesy tracks that showcase singer Roddy Roeser's penchant for grit and glamour, though it isn't the end-all, be-all in power ballad artistry. With the "march forth" drum beat and soaring vocals of opening track "Cleveland," you'd think this might be the latest anthem to reflect local pride. While the song does have its bombastic moments, the track comes off as a bit dated and cheap sounding; while the vocal harmonies are usually tight, other parts of the instrumentation (namely, the percussion) are not, and sound mildly superficial. Even so, Speak 4 Yourself has been a work in progress for more than a decade, and — as the band suggests on the back of the album casing — there's a positive progression in the overall sound of the songs as you delve deeper into the 13-track album. With "Eyes" and "Salvation," Turning Force is churning out heartfelt ballads that lack neither complexity nor intensity — they even get political a little later on with "Mother America." The album's early missteps aside, Speak 4 Yourself is inevitably a tour de force of red-blooded, inspiration rock, and a testament to the DIY ethic and what can be accomplished when two talented musicians morph late-night jam sessions into one complete work.