A grand step up from the underrated New Yorkers
Public Access TV might just be one of the most underrated bands of this decade. After swindling their way to a major-label deal, they quickly reneged on their contract and found freedom ahead of their 2016 debut album, ‘Never Enough’. Its hook-heavy, new wave-indebted treasures might have won them a healthy amount of acclaim, but it never quite reached the wider audience it deserved.
A mere 17 months later, the New Yorkers are back with its follow-up, and they haven’t let that injustice affect them. ‘Street Safari’ cherry-picks the best bits of its predecessor and builds on them until it reaches something even better. ‘Metrotech’, for instance, picks up where ‘Evil Disco’ left off, melding that old track’s strutting sensibilities into a hypnotic, revolving groove that, paired with frontman John Eatherly singing the praises of staying out all night, is the perfect convincer to get off the sofa and out on the town. ‘Never Enough’ tried to race through as many ideas as possible, fuelled by the giddy excitement of making a first record, but one of the things ‘Street Safari’ does best is give each of its parts space to shine.
Everything feels clearer and more striking this time – from the cinematic synth line on ‘Meltdown’ to Max Peebles’ dominating bassline on the R&B-tinged slow yearner ‘Told You Too Much’. Taking the less-is-more approach here means doubling down on the thrills. Lyrically, the band offer up whip-smart societal dissections and endlessly quotable lines. “Can peace really come from a machine gun?” Eatherly questions on the Ramones-y army snapshot of ‘Rough Boy’. “I was playing it cool / Left you read this time”, from the aforementioned ‘Told You Too Much’, should be mandatory in the dating app bio of every ghoster, while the sneer of “I find them so f**king boring” on ‘Ain’t No Friend Of Mine’ is a brilliantly snotty two fingers up at the world. There’s no danger of finding the same fault in ‘Street Safari’, a record even more loveable than PATV’s first. Listen up.
Release Date: 23 February, 2018