Human Television

    Look at Who You’re Talking To

    6

    The
    first draft of this review originally said “Jangly guitars and
    semi-catchy tunes” and that’s all. Way I figured it, what else needs to
    be said about Human Television? That description is perfect, almost too easy. Look at Who You’re Talking To is jangly as a motherfucker.

    [more:]

     

    But
    after many long talks with the Prefix honchos, who gently reminded me
    that I’m contractually obligated to deliver at least 300 hot words per
    review (and un-gently threatened to knock off a couple digits from my
    paycheck if I don’t comply: bastids!), I decided not only to submit to
    their harsh demands, but to go the proverbial extra mile by forbidding the use of the word “jangle” in any permutation henceforth. Great writers challenge themselves, right? Kinda like how Hemingway wrote The Old Man and the Sea without
    allowing himself the use of the letter R. So once I indent, that’ll be
    all she wrote: No mention of jangly guitars or what-have-you; no usage
    of jangle as a verb (I jangle, you jangle, he/she/it jangles); no
    invoking “Mr. Bojangles” for the sake of comparison. None of that, none
    at all, starting now.

     

    Yes.
    Well. Now that I’ve been sitting here with my fingers poised on
    asdfjkl; for the last hour and a half, I’ve had some time to think. And
    what I’m thinking is, maybe That Word wasn’t the best choice to
    describe Human Television in the first place. (I knew it
    seemed too easy.) That Word, when applied to guitar bands, implies a
    strong commitment to pop; and although this album is plenty melodic,
    pop it ain’t. Lacking the hooks and/or verse-to-chorus dynamic shifts
    found in true guitar-pop (think early R.E.M., dB’s, Teenage Fanclub),
    these songs instead settle on simple, pretty, almost aggressively
    unmemorable riffs and tunes, as flat as the Midwest. I’ve spun Look at Who You’re Talking To
    eight or nine times, four times while awarding it full concentration,
    and I couldn’t hum you a single song. And I’ve got a pretty good
    attention span. (By the way — this is completely off-topic — but
    check it: Look at Who You’re Talking To. Look Who’s Talking Too
    starring John Travolta and Kirstie Alley, two avowed Scientologists. Do
    you think the members of Human TV are Scientologists too?)

     

    Anyway,
    if “pretentious” is a big old no-no in your book, you might just love
    this album. These must be twelve of the most pleasant-sounding,
    likeable, least pretentious rock songs ever written. (If Human
    Television were a beer, it’d be Yuengling.) But as someone who believes
    that art is the better part of pretension (and vice versa), I’ll choose
    to keep my distance from these guys for the time being. However, I’m
    declaring this right now, Human Television: If you guys ever come up
    with songs to go along with those simple, pretty riffs of yours, I
    reserve the right to shamelessly hook myself to the back of your
    bandwagon. In the jingle jangle morning, I’ll come following you.

     

    Discuss this review at The Prefix Message Board    

    Human Television Web site

    Human Television on Gigantic Music’s Web site

    Gigantic Music Web site (streaming audio)

    “In Front of the House” MP3

    “I Laughed” MP3

    “I Laughed” video

    “Tell Me What You Want” video

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