The History Of Colour TV – ‘Something Like Eternity’

By Ashwin Bhandari

When it comes to shoegaze, the genre can be somewhat difficult to talk about without mentioning the genre’s pioneers; namely, Slowdive, My Bloody Valentine, Jesus And The Mary Chain etc., simply because its a very distinct sound to mimic. Artists like Ringo Deathstarr and DIIV proudly replicate their ’90s influences, however, with The History Of Colour TV, the Berlin based outfit push boundaries further with a much needed sense of gloom and misery.

That’s not to say that ‘Something Like Eternity’ is a reverb soaked pop affair. In fact, when you listen to this record you’ll notice a lot of the typical shoegaze elements have been stripped back and minimised to slowcore/sadcore roots. This is of course a great thing, as this side of alt rock hasn’t been done much justice since the demise of The Jim Yoshii Pile Up and Red House Painters.

Formed in 2010 as an audio-visual project of Jaike Stambach, this is the 3rd full LP release from The History Of Colour TV, taking a more organic and less experimental approach this time around. The decision to record live in the studio rather than with individual instrumentation is evident, resulting in punchy drum fills and alluring riffs.

Opening the record, ‘Granite Verge Of Tears’ includes shimmering guitar lines with delicate bends, drifting into more traditional indie territory. The post-rock build up is somewhat generic, but flows in seamlessly with ‘Broken Trip’. The mid range vocals accompany the noisy build up near the end, closing somewhat abruptly, but setting the tone nicely for what’s to come later.

The vague, self depreciating lyrics at first feel a bit like filler for the pretty instrumentation but soon tie up with the lead single ‘Wreck’. Here, their brand of mid-paced indie rock is kicked up a notch, and we’re given a story of a group of friends who end up in a car crash. As Stambach forebodes, “some kind of softness to the shards, some comfort in our mutual understanding that none of this was going to end well.” The narration feels unreliable and keeps you on your toes, as the subtle squealing feedback gives an undeniable indication of heartbreak and despair.Even the drums at the very beginning sound bitter and pissed off.

On ‘Overcast Halfs’ we’re thrown back to THOCT’s instrumentally rich, sonic tapestry that serves as a perfect unnerving interlude. Following this, the 2nd half of the record feels somewhat uplifting in its tone but still very much centred in melancholy.  The euphoric simplicity showcased on ‘Even Rain’, and brought to a noisier conclusion on ‘Wait’, ties together a sense of subtle melancholy without coming across as overdramatic.  The longer tracks, it would appear, are more THOCT’s forte.

Unfortunately the momentum and immersion with this side of the album does fall short due to some of the tracks being less interesting than the first half. A few middle of the road moments here and there prevent this record from reaching its full potential. However, ‘Something Like Eternity’ brings a great sense of nostalgia in the vein of early ’00s indie/slowcore, loaded to the brim with thoughtful, poetic songwriting.

ASHWIN BANDARI

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