New York, new-wavers touch upon late 70's punk and 80's new wave and everything in between on funk-tinged sophomore LP Street Safari.
By all accounts, Public Access T.V. have had a bizarre time between the release of their Never Enough debutand recent sophomore LP Street Safari. There's talk of addiction, recovery programmes, bar brawls and an explosion that destroyed all their earthly possessions. If they required something to ground them after being thrown adrift and into a frenzy of press hype, label bidding wars, a critically-acclaimed debut album, sold-out tours, and festival slots around the world, the weighty, bass-driven funk swagger of Street Safari is that anchor.
The group, consisting of lead-singer John Eatherly, Xan Aird, Max Peebles, and Pete Star, began recording Street Safari in winter 2017 with producer Patrick Wimberly of Chairlift, with a bounty of demo tracks they'd catalogued over the last few years, covering their turbulent times.
First to drop was 'Metrotech,' which sounds as if it were written for the Stranger Things soundtrack, with its slinky bass line and new wave cool; and a distinct Duran Duran meets the Clash vocal production. Second single 'Lost In The Game' is a natural follow up, with its Wham! Vs InXS Vs The Clash down a dark alley mishmash of vibes. 'Rough Boy' could only have been made in New York with its more Ramonesy than the Ramones approach. 'Told you Too Much,' is a slow-jam lament - a standout track which reveals Eatherly's natural songwriting capacity underpinning all the glossy stylistics and productions heard on Street Safari.
"I think it's a cop-out to say that this is our mature album, or whatever cliche thing it is that bands say about their second album." says Eatherly. "There was no spiritual awakening or come-to-Jesus moment. We're four young guys trying to figure our lives out, be good people, and a lot of the time find ourselves coming up short. Expressing this through songwriting is the challenge and I can only hope the deliverance."
Whatever - Steet Safari, with orwithout the hyperbole of its background story stands self-assured as a weighty body of work. A modern classic bordering on the pastiche at times, but with the strength of songwriting and arrangements underneath the styling and production, and with the swervy dynamics of the musicians featured, the LP is unquestionably infectious. If Public Access T.V.'s tumultuous few years have inspired such a soothing new wave balm as this, the readjustment period often associated with such an early change in fortunes has paid off well.