Donning leather jackets, rock n’ roll attitudes and torn jeans to accompany their refreshingly retro songs, Public Access TV is a band who seem to be living in the ’70s. Not like that’s a bad thing.
Beneath the unforgiving concrete epidermis of New York City is a pulsating heart of music. Throughout the past century, we have been constantly reminded of this, most recently by the musical eruption of the likes of Interpol, The Strokes and Yeah Yeah Yeahs. And now, 2 years since first peeking their heads above the musical parapet in 2014, “New York’s Hottest Band” have released their much anticipated debut album.
When adversity reared its ugly face to PATV, in the form of their possessions being incinerated in a gas explosion, they did not give up on their grand aspirations. Instead they resolved to go on an extensive tour around the UK and the US to drum up support. The band’s passion and dedication is evident on paper, and thankfully permeates into their music. “Never Enough” opens with the fast paced and melodically thrilling “In Our Blood”, of twanging strings and crashing chords. Following suite in the same vein of excellence, “Evil Disco” starts with a slow beat and a primal yowl, before crashing into a sing-along chorus which is guaranteed to bounce around inside your head all day.
However, one of the highpoints of the album are the bass lines of bassist Max Peebles. In “I Don’t Wanna Live In California”, a spruced up version “Metropolis” from an earlier EP, the bouncing and funky bass-riffs propel the song through to its glorious chorus where singer, John Eartherly laments that, however difficult life gets in New York, he can’t imagine living anywhere else. Truly, this is a band with roots in New York.
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“In Love And Alone” is perhaps the closest PATV get to that fabled ‘Strokes’ sound which people wanted to shine through the album. In this song, Eartherly and the band growl over an cacophony of explosive guitars and drums, which halt mid-song to allow for Peebles to unleash a swaggering bass solo. Upon closer inspection, however, PATV owes more to the UK band ‘Palma Violets‘ than they do ‘The Strokes’, who helped them produce “In Love And Alone” whilst on tour.
Breaking “Never Enough“‘s energetic and fast paced stride, the song “Careful” seems woefully out of place. This sees PATV experimentally stretching their sound into realms it doesn’t suit. The album is also littered with songs like “Remember” and “Sudden Emotion”, which offer very little in their mediocrity.
The conclusion of Never Enough, however, is nothing short of epic. “On Location” is an brilliant concoction of carefree chords, upbeat riffs and pounding drums which cooperate to create one of the best summer songs of 2016, with simple lyricism failing to distract the listener from the song’s powerfully infectious chorus.
Unfortunately, PATV’s debut is not quite the raw and energetic masterpiece promised in those early EPs, contrary to what the name Public Access TV implies. Songs are polished and sanded of all imperfections and, consequently, of the roaring passion which is so evident in their live shows. Perhaps this is what PATV planned for all along – a new band from New York these days is operating under a plethora of pressures, and no matter how much blood and sweat they pour into their debut, they will always feel their efforts are “Never Enough“.
On the final song, “Sell You On A Lie” Eartherly presumptuously shouts “you’re gonna listen on the weekend… on the drive home”, quite fitting the album itself, which seems ideal for a road-trip. This also perfectly sums up “Never Enough“. It’s as exciting a debut as anyone could have hoped for, and is blessed with the tireless joy and that glorious replay-ability of “Is This It?”. Asking for any more would be greedy.