Music

Home Video: Citizen EP

Tim O'Neil

Home Video seem, at least ostensibly, to be a rock act, but their stylistic influences are definitely broad enough to qualify them for membership under the Warp umbrella: they are to rock as Prefuse 73 is to hip-hop, albeit nowhere near as accomplished.


Home Video

Citizen EP

Label: Warp
US Release Date: 2004-10-05
UK Release Date: 2004-10-04
Amazon affiliate
Amazon
iTunes

Warp is probably one of the most diverse record labels around, even if this fact is overshadowed by the prominence of IDM acts such as Aphex Twin, Squarepusher and Boards of Canada. Home Video seem, at least ostensibly, to be a rock act, but their stylistic influences are definitely broad enough to qualify them for membership under the Warp umbrella: they are to rock as Prefuse 73 is to hip-hop, albeit nowhere near as accomplished. The group is actually a duo -- David Gross and Collin Ruffino -- and this EP showcases their emerging talents in a pale, albeit promising light.

Opener "Citizen" is built on a Kraftwerk-meets-Primal Scream rhythm section, with gradually accumulating layers of droning guitar noise and haunting synthesizer lines. The effect is not unlike that of later Radiohead: think a less melodic Amnesiac. "We" continues the Radiohead comparison, with Ruffino stretching his vowels to Yorke-like proportions. As with "Citizen", however, the vocals are much less important than the multiple layers of shifting and sliding electronic elements which compose the group's sound.

"Blimp Mason" is a departure from the first two tracks, with a crunk-lite bass-heavy beat offset against a delicate piano movement and Ruffino's melancholy, formless vocals. At just two-and-a-half minutes long, this track definitely deserved a longer treatment. "In a Submarine" is a sparse and moody exercise in creative percussion, with a range of drum sounds processed to sound like the rattling and banging of the mechanical parts of a submarine. Four tracks in and Ruffino's vocals are beginning to grate, however.

The album finishes with "The Tundra", a slow-building track built around a pair of evocative basslines that wouldn't be out of place on a New Order record. There's some harpsichord as well, and a few synthesizer echoes to provided to round it out. After only five tracks, Home Video's strengths and weaknesses are fairly well defined: they have an interesting ear for rhythmic layering and minor-key electronic harmonies, but their songwriting is relatively primitive, and obviously deeply in debt to later Radiohead and similar cerebral rock groups. Additionally, the vocal elements add little to the effect, and either need to be revamped or dropped altogether. Hopefully, when the group's full-length LP drops in the spring, they will have accentuated their strengths and reevaluated their weaknesses, as there is definitely a spark of something interesting to be found here. Only time will tell whether or not this spark will be fanned into a flame or fully extinguished.

4

Music

Books

Film

Recent
Music

Alexander Wren's "The Earth Is Flat" Wryly Looks at Lost Love (premiere + interview)

Singer-songwriter Alexander Wren's "The Earth Is Flat" is a less a flat-earther's anthem and more a wry examination of heartache.

Music

Big Little Lions' "Distant Air" Is a Powerful Folk-Anthem (premiere)

Folk-pop's Big Little Lions create a powerful anthem with "Distant Air", a song full of sophisticated pop hooks, smart dynamics, and killer choruses.

Music

The Flat Five Invite You to "Look at the Birdy" (premiere)

Chicago's the Flat Five deliver an exciting new single that exemplifies what some have called "twisted sunshine vocal pop".

Music

Brian Bromberg Pays Tribute to Hendrix With "Jimi" (premiere + interview)

Bass giant Brian Bromberg revisits his 2012 tribute to Jimi Hendrix 50 years after his passing, and reflects on the impact Hendrix's music has had on generations.

Jedd Beaudoin
Music

Shirley Collins' ​'Heart's Ease'​ Affirms Her Musical Prowess

Shirley Collins' Heart's Ease makes it apparent these songs do not belong to her as they are ownerless. Collins is the conveyor of their power while ensuring the music maintains cultural importance.

9
Books

Ignorance, Fear, and Democracy in America

Anti-intellectualism in America is, sadly, older than the nation itself. A new collection of Richard Hofstadter's work from Library of America traces the history of ideas and cultural currents in American society and politics.

By the Book

Democratizing Our Data: A Manifesto (excerpt)

Just as big tech leads world in data for profit, the US government can produce data for the public good, sans the bureaucracy. This excerpt of Julia Lane's Democratizing Our Data: A Manifesto will whet your appetite for disruptive change in data management, which is critical for democracy's survival.

Julia Lane
Music

Mobley Laments the Evil of "James Crow" in the US

Austin's Mobley makes upbeat-sounding, soulful pop-rock songs with a political conscience, as on his latest single, "James Crow".

Music

Jordan Tice's "Bad Little Idea" Is a Satirical Spin on Dire Romance (premiere)

Hawktail's Jordan Tice impresses with his solo work on "Bad Little Idea", a folk rambler that blends bluesy undertones with satiric wit.

Music

Composer Ilan Eshkeri Discusses His Soundtrack for the 'Ghost of Tsushima' Game

Having composed for blockbuster films and ballet, Ilan Eshkeri discusses how powerful emotional narratives and the opportunity for creative freedom drew him to triple-A video game Ghost of Tsushima.

Film

What 'O Brother, Where Art Thou?' Gets Right (and Wrong) About America

Telling the tale of the cyclops through the lens of high and low culture, in O'Brother, Where Art Thou? the Coens hammer home a fatalistic criticism about the ways that commerce, violence, and cosmetic Christianity prevail in American society .

Film

Love and Cinema: The Ruinous Lives in Żuławski's L'important c'est d'aimer

Żuławski's world of hapless also-rans in L'important C'est D'aimer is surveyed with a clear and compassionate eye. He has never done anything in his anarchic world by the halves.

Books

On Bruce Springsteen's Music in Film and TV

Bruce Springsteen's music in film and television captured author Caroline Madden's imagination. She discuses her book, Springsteen as Soundtrack, and other things Springsteen in this interview.

Music

Alt-pop's merci, mercy Warns We May "Fall Apart"

Australian alt-pop singer-songwriter, merci, mercy shares a video for her catchy, sophisticated anthem, "Fall Apart".

Film

Tears in Rain: 'Blade Runner' and Philip K. Dick's Legacy in Film

Blade Runner, and the work of Philip K. Dick, continues to find its way into our cinemas and minds. How did the visions of a paranoid loner become the most relevant science fiction of our time?

Music

London Indie-Poppers the Motive Impress on "You" (premiere)

Southwest London's the Motive concoct catchy, indie-pop earworms with breezy melodies, jangly guitars, and hooky riffs, as on their latest single "You".

Books

Vigdis Hjorth's 'Long Live the Post Horn!' Breathes Life into Bureaucratic Anxiety

Vigdis Hjorth's Long Live the Post Horn! is a study in existential torpor that, happily, does not induce the same condition in the reader.

Music

Konqistador and HanHan Team for Darkwave Hip-Hop on "Visaya"

Detroit-based electronic/industrial outfit, Konqistador team with Toronto hip-hopper HanHan for "Visaya", a song that blends darkwave and rap into an incendiary combination.


Reviews
Collapse Expand Reviews



Features
Collapse Expand Features

PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 PopMatters.com. All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.