Friday, May 26, 2006

Human Television / Look at Who You're Talking To / Rating: 7.0

PFM says: “In the wake of Human Television's frenetic, frankly awesome All Songs Written By EP, the shoegazy Look At Who You're Talking To comes across as a crawling letdown.”


“sounding eerily like Ian Curtis”


“Wearing influences plainly on sleeves, the moodiness of "I'm Moving On" resembles models like Black Tambourine and My Bloody Valentine.”


“Human Television do better when ripping off Sarah Records twee”


“The guitars are reminiscent of New Zealand pop-- the Clean or the Chills-- and there are traces of the Field Mice, Rocketship, and more obviously, R.E.M. and the Wedding Present.”

Phew! That brings us to a total of 9 band names dropped in one review. Allmusic lists many of the same bands as influences here and here.

The Gigantic Music website (the band's label) mentions the very same bands too. In fact if you read all the press clips listed (scroll down on the front page) back to back you basically could piece together your own version of this PFM review. The big difference is PFM manages to turn these comparisons into insults rather than compliments.

And I bet you wouldn’t be shocked if I told you many of these terms / references are also to be found on the band’s one sheet. Well, they are.

I don’t know how many times I can say this but I repeat, just because a press kit tells you what a band sound like or is influenced by doesn’t mean they ACTUALLY sound like that at all. Anybody who takes the time to actually listen to this HT record (tho I know it is easier to just re-word the publicity garbage) will hear right away there is no MY Bloody Valentine anything happening here. Maybe kinda sorta early MBV but there are a billion better bands to reference there. Enough of the MBV references for fuck sake. Move on writers, there is a world of music to talk about besides this one band and at the very least, use their name in the proper context please!

And Black Tambourine? Why bother going so obscure when there isn’t even a female vocalist to barely bridge the new school sweater pop to the old school cuddle core. My better half / the Black Tambourine expert of the house doesn’t hear BT either and we both say drop the review runaround and mention Jesus and Mary Chain already since they are who all these bands are …lets say…motivated by.

PFM says: "Which isn't to say that Human Television should stick only to pop as jangly and scuffed as custodians' key chains; most of the downtempo stuff surprisingly moves, too."

What is that sentence actually trying to say? What a mess of point and FYI: downtempo is not a word we usually use to describe rock music; electronic music practically owns the rights to it.

For fun I googled these key words from The Human Television PFM review: shoegaze, moody, twee, pop, wimp, sweet, jangle, familiar…and fittingly got this: the Parasol mail order catalog.

Ironically Parasol does not carry the new THT record.

The Human Television do fuzzy twee by the book and considering this particular grain of sand in the alternative music genre desert is a favorite of mine, Look at Who You're Talking to to has been one of the few cds this year I have played on a regular basis.

On those grey days where I don’t want to listen to another Red House Painters record, THT do nicely and if you are looking for a place to start, check out the tracks On & On, Untitled, or I’m Moving On. If I could divide a rating- those particular songs would earn at least an 8 and while I am grossly disappointed in this PFM review, the rating itself is not that far from correct. I may love this genre but I also know the difference between a good record and a great one. Look at Who is simply good.