Forming in the famous city of New York in 2014, John Eatherly, Xan Aird, Max Peebles and Peter Sustarsic make up Public Access T.V., a rock/post-punk band who have already shared a stage with big names in the alternative rock scene such as The Strokes, Weezer, Hinds and Palma Violets.
In the two years since the four-piece came into existence the boys have received critical acclaim from Zane Lowe, NME and USA Today to name a few! After watching the video for their single “On Location” a couple of months ago it was clear to me that Public Access T.V. had something. They had the look, the attitude and the tunes that could see them achieve commercial success. I quickly decided that I wanted to get my hands on their upcoming debut album Never Enough. Writing a few good singles is one thing, but creating a full album is a completely different story. I wanted to see if these guys had it in them.
Public Access T.V. are honestly not the kind of band that I’d usually go out of my way to listen to, however there is something about Eatherly’s vocals that enticed me.
From the nature of their photoshoots to the structure of their website, everything about Public Access T.V. gives off an unmistakable, somewhat eccentric, 80’s vibe, something that has once again become very popular in the alternative scene over the past few years. One could wonder whether the band has taken this direction strategically, purely to sell their music, but from the outside it doesn’t appear that way.
Kicking things off we have “In Our Blood”, the chorus of which you will no doubt find stuck in your head. I am a strong believer that a good song is structured around an intelligent play on repetition and the chorus of “In Our Blood” displays this theory brilliantly.
A little further down the line we have “End Of An Era” – one of my favourite tracks. The verses feature classic rock and roll guitar, mostly major in nature, which, coupled with a four to the floor drumbeat (an old favourite of mine) carry and compliment the delivery of the track’s message. “They say the kids don’t like rock and roll” – a statement that myself and many other youngsters who are avid fans of the genre find frustrating in the continued struggle of the electronically dominated charts.
“Evil Disco”, “Careful” and “In Love And Alone” all display the band’s ability to slow things down a little and produce quality ballads (not total ballads though… Remember people, this is rock and roll). “Careful” has a very romantic vibe to it. Featuring delicate piano lines, swelling violins and a vocal melody which actually made me feel sympathy for the writer; it feels like a sealed up love letter begging to be read by the recipient, like the writer is desperate to be set free from their sorrow. The stabbing vocal sections that are dotted throughout the song also portray a certain level of angst that makes you feel even more empathetic.
Although overall I am a fan of Never Enough, ironically there’s a feeling that Eatherly’s vocals are just, well, never enough. As a vocalist myself I am certain that Eatherly has a lot more vocal potential than he displays throughout the duration of the album. He barely leaves his lower register and although this may be a stylistic decision, there’s a sense that he could portray a lot more were he to take his melodies to new places. The style that Public Access T.V. are pursuing doesn’t need a huge amount of emphasis on the vocals as the music is more about the rhythm, but it would still be nice to hear what more he can do on future tracks. He has a beautiful tone which fondly reminds me of Alex Turner, something that could definitely continue to blossom.
Never Enough? How about more than enough for a debut! With great writing skills and a classic rock and roll image these guys are making a solid start to their career.