Friday, June 18, 2004

Home Video - That You Might 10" (Warp)

There's been a bit of message board controversy in the past few weeks over Warp's latest signing, New York-based band Home Video. And, sure, Home Video seem an odd fit for Warp- they use mostly traditional guitar/bass/drums/keyboard instrumentation, have opened for the likes of Radio 4, and write pop songs with hooks and (gasp!) vocals. This isn't an entirely unprecedented move on Warp's part- Broadcast have found a home at Warp, and they've distributed Stereolab and Tortoise in the UK. But detractors point to Home Video, fellow new signee Gravenhurst, and trendy dancepunk act !!!, whom Warp are heavily promoting, as evidence that Sheffield's finest have sold out for potential mainstream success. This is, frankly, rubbish. Even leaving aside the questionable equation of success with artistic bankruptcy- after all, LFO's self-titled debut single became a top twenty hit in the UK during the label's early days, and few scenesters are calling for Mark Bell's head on a pike- this is just another manifestation of the cliqueishness unfortunately typical of much of the electronic scene. But internet drama and indie snobbery aside, how's the actual music?

Eh. Not bad. Home Video have a gloomy sound slightly reminescent of Brotherhood-era New Order, with a driving rhythm section and guitar melodies embellished with minimal electronics. "That You Might," the single's lead track, has a tense, insistent groove that should go down nicely in a club setting. Thankfully, Home Video don't ape the trendy post-punk of PiL and Gang of Four as blatantly as their peers in Radio 4 and The Rapture, leaning more toward New Order and the synthpop of early Human League. Unfortunately, their singer is a bit of a stumbling block- he's got a serviceable voice, but it's a dead ringer for Thom Yorke's. Coupled with his oblique, vaguely political lyrics, this can make for awkward listening. The B-side, "Dialogue Box," is especially bland. While it's pleasant enough, the lyrics are ultimately meaningless, and the song lacks direction and dynamics over its four-minute duration.

So, while it's hardly a masterpiece or likely hit single, "That You Might" is a good start for Home Video and definitely worth a few spins, if only for the A-side. I'm reserving further judgment until the band drops a full-length, hopefully sometime this year. And until then, will you people cut it out with the guitar hate? Please. You know who you are.


Home Video (band site with downloadable mp3 clips)
Buy this album (Warpmart)


Post a Comment

<< Home