This year has seen several EPs that I felt compelled to review. Many of them have been side projects from bands I already like. That is case with Basic Television. Their debut EP is called “One”, and it released on August 28th. I’m loving what I hear.
Basic Television comes to us from New York City. The band includes Roma Harlow, known as Anadale from the amazing prog alternative band Jolly, one of my favorites. Suzie Ellis and Jason Crawford complete the lineup.
The band offers a vivid, smooth, and luscious dark synth sound. You will certainly hear accents from all sorts of genres, like electronic, industrial, darkwave, Goth, and alternative. The music makes me want to dance, but also sit in melancholy silence as it washes over my mind. There is a shadowy fluidity and a potent ambition that really drive everything here, and it is instantly recognizable. This makes the EP rather exciting from start to finish.
One thing that I really like about this EP is the combination of influences. Many of the vocal lines and choruses feel influenced by pop and rock, especially New Wave, but the music itself is a molten beast that satisfies my desire for abstract, complex ideas, aka industrial and dark ambient. What all of that means, then, is that these songs will feel catchy, but upon closer examination, you will notice how multifarious, strangely structured, and brilliantly conceived they are.
“One” has three songs on it. It opens with the evocative and gritty “Creeper”. I love the unrelenting beat, the dirty electronica, and the huge ending truncated with gorgeous keys. Suzie is the primary vocalist on this first track, and she sounds great. Next comes “Fade”, this time with Roma on lead vocals. Roma has such a gravy voice unlike any other, and his vocal lines are a real treat on this song, and I love the biting rhythm. This is probably the catchiest of the three songs, too. I should mention, too, that Jason is a veritable beast on drums. I love watching him perform in the videos.
“Solia” is the final track, and what a song it is! I love the slightly brighter sound, and the vocal-heavy structure. Roma and Suzie sing much of it together, and they create some unnervingly beautiful harmonies. This closer is a slow-burning track, but its melancholy strains mixed with the gorgeous vocals are certainly effective.
Basic Television has my interest. This EP is a perfect tasting of their dark synth sound, and the attraction certainly extends beyond mere genre novelty alone. No, this EP presents us with raw vocal talent, fantastic compositions, and a poignant sense of purposeful artistry that is undeniable. I hope that we’ll see a full debut album soon.
Find Basic Television online: