TV Heads, a Los Angeles based band and alt-rock outfit consisting of members Sean Galloway, Angelica Tavella, Vince Gutierrez and Jessica Lankford, released their debut EP “Total Fucker” in anticipation of their Southwest US tour. If you want to see them live they will be performing in Tulsa at Soundpony on February 22. This EP was produced by Jeff Saltzman, who has previously worked with The Killers, Department of Eagles and Blondie.
The EP consists of 4 tracks “Chin Up,” “Cool it Down,” “Total Fucker” and “Flower District.” The first thing that stands out about this EP is the washed out, layered, reverb-y vocals all across the project. They give the tracks a very dark, ethereal vibe which builds up into light punk and indie rock vibes. The synths drive this point further as they create soft, distant melodies which are punctuated with comparably heavy percussion. The first track, “Chin Up,” displays the band’s ability to seamlessly weave between soft indie, alt rock and even a little post-punk. This song was a great choice for the first song on the EP; it boasts TV Heads’ genre-bending attitude while also grabbing the listener’s attention.
Track 2, “Cool it Down,” is a much softer and gentler song. Not that “Chin Up” is particularly heavy, just that the post-punk and rock inspiration didn’t make it into this song. With a track that lasts just over four and a half minutes, this song slows down the EP significantly. It isn’t a particularly bad song but it overstays its welcome and feels like filler, which is criminal considering that it is on a four song EP.
“Total Fucker” brings the groove back with a slow indie punk ballad; this track has the meat and substance that “Cool it Down” lacked. The song builds to a passionate and meaningful moment in the EP, where the band’s actual abilities are revealed. This takes what was seen in “Chin Up” and builds more layers of light punk influence into the mix. The track does seem to be a rehashing of “Chin Up” in that they both start with mellow indie singing and transition into watered-down, distant punk screaming. I would have liked to see more variation in the musical style because these tracks feel incredibly similar.
“Flower District” is by far the most unique song on the EP. It breaks from any punk influence that the band had and strides more towards indie singer/songwriter territory. This track adds to the soulful and wistful vibe that is laced throughout the project, while also adding more diversity to the track list.
Overall, if you want a soft indie project to listen to in the background then I recommend this album. If you want something hard-hitting and attention-grabbing, then look elsewhere. Total Fucker as an EP isn’t bad by any means but as the band grows artistically I anticipate better projects, for now the focus and experience as a band is not fully developed and the EP suffers because of that. I encourage you to give this a listen if you would enjoy a Smashing Pumpkins and Jeff Buckley collaborative album.