When I first slid the CD, Red, by the Australian band, TV Snow, into my player, two words came to mind almost immediately: “college rock.” I don’t mean that in a bad way, far from it. For me, that means guitar-driven guitar pop with sincere lyrics. It’s just, that having been around when college rock first really started to percolate in the 1980s, it’s interesting to note that it’s become so codified as a genre, that it’s instantly recognizable as such.
It sounds like I’m damning with faint praise, but I’m really not. In fact, if I would select something to listen to, or program on a college radio show, I would select this CD. Most of the disk follows the program of some acoustic sounding leads and aching lead vocals with some really tight harmonies behind it. There’s a bit of keyboards here and there, but it doesn’t overwhelm.
The tracks that don’t follow this exactly are Plastic Pointing, which has the lead vocal done through a modulator. The last track, How Young gets started with a bit more urgency than some of the other tracks.
I would have to say that a good point of departure for this band would have to both be REM and U2, and I would be surprised if I didn’t find disks by these two bands in TV Snow’s collection. But, I’m still not trying to say that they are slavish imitations of either. They aren’t. This is the type of music I would reach for almost immediately and that I would like to hear on a college radio station.
If we’re going to have a genre of college rock, then I would like for it to sound like this. This is the type of music that people really should be listening to and I hope that they do. TV Snow is a good band and they should get ample play on college radio stations. Like I said, the interesting part for me is that 30 years after the fact that we can touch on this as a genre and talk about it in that way.
There are genres of music I’m much more willing to see fall by the wayside and TV Snow is a band that should wear its influences proudly. They are very good standard bearers for this type of music. May college radio and rock wave as proud as they have so far.