Wednesday 2 July 2014

TV Girl - French Exit

Album review by KevW

The first we heard from TV Girl was an EP back in 2010, but they're claiming 'French Exit' to be their debut album, "depending on how you look at it". Well, considering there are probably enough EP tracks and singles to handsomely fill an album, and considering that they released a 15-track album, 'The Wild, The Innocent, The TV Shuffle' two years ago, it would indeed depend on how you look at it. I guess that if you take into account the fact that album contained so many samples that they marketed it as a mixtape, then perhaps we could look at this collection as a debut LP. The word was that the mixtape would see the group moving away from samples and working on music that consisted of more original material, but to be honest, you'd be hard-pushed to notice the difference on this sample-laden beauty.

The biggest change in the world of TV Girl is that the project is now essentially Brad Petering and occasional guests on vocals (or in the case of the Avalanches recalling 'Daughter Of A Cop', co-writing credits with Elvis Depressedly). The difference in sound is barely noticeable though, as we're taken on a trip through plenty of spoken-word samples, sections of music that could be lifted from 1950s TV commercials, girl group sounds, big beats and chilled-out indiepop, all blended together in TV Girl's inimitable style with those trademark casual vocals. A love for girls is never far away (although it's never perverted or done in any way that's not classy), with a special free lyric PDF download that comes with vintage glamour photography. The track tiles speak for themselves on that one: 'Pantyhose', 'Louise', 'The Blonde', 'Daughter Of A Cop', 'Her and Her Friend', 'Anjela'... in fact, TV Girl describe this album as "12 songs about lost lust, too much love and not enough", which is entirely correct.

This is a record that contains some impeccable alt-pop though, with single 'Birds Don't Sing' mixing those vintage sounds with the worlds of hip-hop and indie, an exotic twang and affected spoken-word samples. 'Louise' also has an exotic feel that's combined with what could be sections taken from the soundtrack to classics from the golden age of Hollywood. You can hear The Avalanches again too, but it's far from being a copy, especially thanks to the vocals. There are no lulls on 'French Exit', and that makes picking highlights a little tricky too because it's a terrific set as a whole, but if we're pushed then set the controls for the fluttery breakbeat of 'The Getaway' which makes good use of those retro clips, the summery dreampop found on 'Talk To Strangers', the slightly soulful, laid-back 'The Blonde', 'Lovers Rock' which blends those timeless sounds with more modern touches and is a potential single, and 'Anjela' which makes for a breezy and experimental ending. Whatever the circumstances and whatever tag is put on to 'French Exit', it sounds like the same old TV Girl, and for this we should be grateful.

TV Girl's website

Stream or buy the album

Catch them live:

Jul 09 Tin Can Alehouse, San Diego, CA
Jul 10 Lot 1 Cafe, Los Angeles, CA
Jul 11 The Nightlight, Oakland, CA
Jul 12 Sophia's Thai Kitchen, Davis, CA
Jul 13 Witch Room, Sacramento, CA
Jul 14 The Blue Lagoon, Santa Cruz, CA
Jul 16 Fortune Sound Club, Vancouver, BC
Jul 17 Sunset Tavern, Seattle, WA
Jul 18 The Northern, Olympia, WA
Jul 19 Bob's Java Jive, Tacoma, WA
Jul 20 Mississippi Studios, Portland, OR
Jul 21 Ok Theater, Enterprise, OR
Jul 22 The Crux, Boise, ID
Jul 23 Kilby Court, Salt Lake City, UT
Jul 24 UMS Fest - The Underground Music Showcase, Denver, CO
Jul 26 South Broadway Arts District, Denver, CO

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