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UV-TV bring sunshine and static on new album





UV-TV bring sunshine and static on new album

UV-TV's Always Something opens with “Overcast Forever” which itself opens with two intertwined chiming guitars played in exuberantly Johnny Marr-ish fashion but with a jangly jagged dissonance between them and a quick single-note bass suspension adding more tension right before bassist-guitarist-vocalist Rose Vastola recalls calling up an unidentified “you” on a sunny day and being confronted with shadows and darkness as a result. This unnamed someone “went away so long ago” but maintains a presence that still lingers apparently which may account for the song’s title with its lingering stormcloud that never breaks but never passes over either leading to a state of perpetual grey skies or at least that's my purely speculative reading.

What isn’t speculative is UV-TV’s mastery of taking hints of darkness and discord (with lyrical themes ranging from "the art of doing nothing" to "the inevitability of inconvenience and false hopes") and enveloping them in a sweet candy coating much like a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup but made with bittersweet chocolate and extra crunchy JIF peanut butter straight from Iggy Pop’s personal stash (watch out for shards of glass) but with music that’s less Stooges-like and more along the lines The Muffs meets My Bloody Valentine in a dark alley and gets jumped by Joy Formidable—nervy guitar-based pop-rock balancing big pop hooks and big bright production with a simmering post-punk tension propelling the whole thing forward.

It’s a musical blueprint that never really goes out of style especially when it's done well and UV-TV ups the ante by adding dashes of dreampop and shoegaze and modern indie vibes. Like on “Distant Lullaby” which opens with Ian Bernacett’s guitar pedals set to stun with a two-chord swirl of cacophony but ultimately culminating in a stupidly catchy ba-ba-ba-bum-ba-ba-bum-ba-ba-bum singalong refrain which is like going from Sonic Youth to a Saturday Morning Cartoon theme song in one fell swoop, and I didn’t even mention the cowbell heard faintly in the song's bridge as if the band were just daring you to quote that one over-quoted Christopher Walken line.

Or like on “Plume” which starts off with a stark “Be My Baby” beat—or a Jesus and Mary Chain “Just Like Honey” beat if you prefer—like a plume of smoke rising off in the distance, before locking in with bass and strummed guitar and gradually building over several minutes to a swirling wall-of-sound miasma complete with machine gun snare drum fills by Ian Rose (who borrows a name from both his bandmates) before cresting and briefly resorting to its stripped down rhythmic pulse. The ending of “Plume” then leads right into the title track which could just about be mistaken for a Brian Jonestown Massacre number at first what with the tremolo guitar and groovy maraca and driving motorik pulse. But hey I don’t wanna give it all away so just go listen to the nine songs on Always Something if so inclined and savor all the flavors on your own. (Jason Lee)

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