TV Snow, one of Melbourne’s recent offspring from Australia’s indie/DIY boom, captures the ups and downs of summertime fun, which coincidentally reflects the band’s history. After recording the album this past summer, tragedy struck TV Snow with the loss of its bassist, Ben “Red” Linden, due to a fatal shark attack the day after the band finished recording. Persisting to finish the album nonetheless, Red serves as a tribute to TV Snow’s departed friend while promoting the laid-back, surf-rock vibes characteristic of a coastal band.
TV Snow takes a simple approach to its music, with guitars saturating the tracks with sugary sweet power chords, heavy bass strumming and a steady drum beat. Occasionally, a violin melody or two sneaks its way in, such as on “Call To The Siren” and “I Will Dance,” adding a bittersweet tone that piggybacks on the emotional foundation laid by the vocals.
Vocalist Sean Tyler brings a pop-punk lip curl to the music with the slight sneer in his voice. On “Boy Wonder,” he cranks up the quiet melancholy at the start of the song into a wailing croon that would stir immediate infatuation in some high schoolers. For higher dosages of vocal adrenaline, Tyler proves his talents with “Downtown,” carrying the responsibility of pushing the track forward with an energetic rush.
TV Snow describes itself as possessing “boyish energy” on its website, and this perfectly captures the overall feel of the album and the band. Part of the youthfulness shows up in the immaturity of the song structures on Red, which don’t take any unexpected turns. But the other part lends itself to TV Snow’s raw enthusiasm and uplifting melodies that triumph despite the band’s personal loss. That the group didn’t junk the sunny recordings after Linden died makes Red a fitting tribute, one that captures Linden’s musical memory and focuses on the better times rather than sorrow.