Pure Plush Bone Cage opens with a rousing introduction that sets the stage for the 30 minutes that follow: Turtlenecked makes scrunched-up, scratchy, anxious rock music that aims to pick apart malaise and cliché. It’s the project of Portland-based college student Harrison Smith, who started releasing music under the name last fall and ended up with a promising collection of EPs. Pure Plush Bone Cage is his first full-length, but it moves at the rapid pace of something much shorter and compact. Each song clocks in at around two minutes (save for a sprawling 10-minute closing track), which Harrison says was a personal challenge: “I wanted to see how many ideas I could cram into each song, so I think the weird unfurling nature of the songs is deliberate,” he notes in a press release.
The result of that constriction are songs that delight in their own weirdness, able to occupy an off-kilter headspace for a limited amount of time. Harrison jumps from idea to idea with the enthusiasm of someone who is still having fun figuring it all out, making each track come across as a little paranoid and breathless. It’s artful but immediate, filled with scathing social and generational commentary and pointed self-criticism: “I see beheadings in masks on HDTVs/ As surreal as it seems,” he wails on one. “Use me for what I’m good for/ Call me up to your door/ I won’t hang around,” he sings on “Mondrian.” Throughout it all, Harrison exudes a confidence and boundless intensity that’s sure to prove fruitful on further releases.