TV Eyes – TV Eyes (review)

TV Eyes – TV Eyes (Omnivore Recordings) review

Supergroup New Wave homage gets it’s first US release

The world should’ve tuned in.  TV Eyes was a short-lived alternative supergroup featuring Jason Falkner & Roger Manning, who both spent time in Jellyfish, and Brian Reitzell of Redd Kross.  All three members have made careers out of breathing new life into classic styles of music, so TV Eyes made sense.  Grabbing their name from an Iggy & the Stooges classic, the band aped the sound of the late Seventies / early Eighties punk/New Wave movement, before the funny haircuts took center stage: vintage bleeping synthesizers, crunching guitars and rhythms that make you want to pogo, all wrapped in catchy melodies.

It certainly had the makings of success.  However, the band never secured a record contract in America, and the one and only TV Eyes album was relegated to a Japan-only release.  Now, Omnivore Recordings has reissued this shoulda-been-a-classic record, complete with four bonus tracks.

“Fascinating,” with its insistent beat and repetitive guitar riff, sounds like a great Cars’ outtake, while “She’s a Study” has pulsing keyboards that remind of Depeche Mode.  “Over the City” is slightly bent, like Altered Images with a guy singing.  “The Party’s Over” has very retro punk verses that give way to a Cheap Trick-type chorus.  All ten of the album’s original tracks are decent.

Of the bonus material, three of the four cuts are remixes, and none of them outdo the original versions.  The fourth one is a curious addition – “She Gets Around” was included in the soundtrack to the Bill Murray / Scarlett Johansson movie Lost in Translation.  Mostly spoken verses are laid over a hypnotic synth riff that bares a strong resemblance to Donna Summer’s “I Feel Love.”  Unfortunately, the track is more bizarre than listenable.

The Eighties seem to be everywhere these days.  Even though it was recorded almost a decade ago, TV Eyes sounds fresh.  Few bands have ever captured the spirit of the early days of New Wave like TV Eyes.  Find a retro arcade game to play online and crank this one up.  Rabbit ears not necessary—Tony Peters