Public Access TV 'Never Enough'
PUBLIC ACCESS TV PROVE ROCK ISN’T DEAD (WELL, NOT YET, AT LEAST) WITH NEVER ENOUGH
Anointed ‘the new Strokes’ before they even released an album, Public Access TV prove they’re playing their own game on their debut LP, Never Enough.
If you’re a rock fan in this day and age, Never Enough is the kind of album you dream about. Capturing the transition between the prog-y 70’s and the dance-dominated 80’s, when New Wave came on the scene with its potent combination of punk and pop, the record is a breath of fresh air. Or maybe more of a steamy puff rising from an NYC subway grate. “In Our Blood” kicks things off with plenty of angular energy and a beat that begs you to get up and dance, while “Evil Disco” sounds like if Ric Ocasek of the Cars fronting Tom Petty’s Heartbreakers circa Damn The Torpedoes.
The two tracks toward the center of the album tell you everything you need to know about PATV. “I Don’t Want To Live In California” glitters with all the New York nightclub slink, of David Bowie’s “Let’s Dance” before erupting into a sneering chorus that makes even me--born-and-raised in LA--want to scream along. “End Of An Era” mixes lead guitarist Xan Aird’s infectious power-pop licks with an irresistible dance beat, as frontman John Eatherly sings “They say the kids don’t like rock ’n roll/don’t like rock ’n roll/anymore.” If rock really is dying, these two tracks prove PATV are ensuring it goes out with a hooky, danceable bang.
Before you think they’re one-note, they smack you with “Careful,” a slow stroller that reminds me of the early Beatle days, when they would take smooth hits by The Miracles and rough ‘em up. Eatherly’s voice comes perfectly untethered at just the right moments, as the rest of the guys add honeyed backing vocals.
The last third of the album is one hit after another. “Sudden Emotion,” with it’s strolling riff, is surfy, but in a Rockaway Beach kind of way--NYC through and through. “On Location” will get stuck in your head for weeks, and “Sell You A Lie” is so good, I feel like Elvis Costello should be sending them a check. These are songs that sweaty kids packed into tiny clubs will shout along to, feeling that particular brand of ecstasy that comes from loud guitars, singable melodies, and skinny, instrument-wielding guys that are so confident in their un-hipness, they’re the coolest guys around.
Never Enough is a return to intelligent pop; catchy, hi-energy, radio-length songs with enough attitude and sophistication, that the sweetness is tempered with an intoxicating, salty bite. As much as I love both bands, the Strokes thing is a stretch. What they do share is the east village attitude, the songs about slinky nights out on downtown streets, and PATV’s mission to take up the (now tragically square) mantle of rock ’n roll, for one more trip around the turntable.