With rock’s sea change now reaching its peak, it’s become more obvious than ever that overblown rockstar fantasies aren’t want people want anymore, and that music grounded in realism has become far more preferable. Obviously that’s not an exhaustive claim, but the vast majority of bands at the absolute crest of the wave are the one for whom emotionality and realism are at the forefront.
With that in mind, St. Albans’ TV Coma are the perfect sort of band to make a real stir, with debut EP Body Negative being so ingrained in the experiences of poor, introverted students that it can be almost scarily relatable at points. And of course, there are the customary buckets of charm and nudging humour that only serve to make a track like Trudy, a dig at snobby, fake-cultured flatmates, have so much more pizzazz. Even more compelling is how much of this EP is underscored with such distinct strains of melancholy, like the culture of going to parties you have no interest in simply to avoid being lonely on Have A Party, or the vicious cycle of being unable to afford even basic amenities because of the inability to get a job on Unemployable. It’s never played too dourly though, and thus a track like I Don’t Like Football pushes its humour and levity right to the front to highlight that, no matter how miserable the situation, there’s always room to complain about something to make yourself feel better.
What’s even more impressive is TV Coma deftly avoid indie-punk monotony for the most part in their sound. For once, this is a band who subscribe to the “bigger is better” mindset, with Have A Party and Grow Up being stuffed to the gills with gang vocals, and I Don’t Like Football being as full-throttle and jaunty as possible. Then there’s Trudy which inexplicably breaks into a doo-wop passage that’s a genuinely enjoyable moment, and actually fits the direction of the track, strangely enough. Unlike so much indie-punk that sticks to such a rigid formula, TV Coma have the benefit of sonic diversity on their side, and it works wonders for them.
As such, Body Negativity is possibly one of the freshest, most enjoyable indie-punk releases in some time, even if that’s only by virtue of TV Coma keeping thing as light as possible. While that’s definitely a factor though, there’s tact and smartness in songcraft and an instrumental sharpness that gives this incredibly short listen so much more potency. It’s not as if they’re short on directions to go either; the door is open for TV Coma to take so many interesting, infectious paths, and that’s an exciting thought indeed.
For fans of: Charly Bliss, Diet Cig, Weezer
Words by Luke Nuttall
‘Body Negativity’ by TV Coma is released on 7th September on White Label.