By: Julia Simon
Whether it’s 1986 or 2006 makes no difference to Human Television, whose uncannily melodic jangle pop is reminiscent of the Smiths and the Wedding Present. It’s easy for these anglophiles to blur the tangibility of time, considering they furbish their songs with a layer white noise humming along at a brightly monotonous frequency, much like a dull glow radiating from the telly. Their debut LP, Look At Who You’re Talking To, comes off slightly discordant and distorted, disorienting in its brilliant manipulation of simplistic song structures.
By moniker alone, Human Television want you to know there’s more to their music than minimal pop. Frontman Billy D. chose the name after reading an article that described human televisions as those detecting light and sound beyond normal ranges of perception. And this Philly-via-Gainesville group do come off as perceptive, often even erudite. They met at the University of Florida, and while they spent their days as co-eds wheeling chiming guitars instead of Gator pride, there’s still a touch of barely-legal college hedonism to their aesthetic. It’s unclear if Billy D. hasn’t passed a drivers test or if he can’t find any venue for lusty encounters more private than a transit depot, but when he encourages his love interest to meet him at a bus stop on “Inconsistent,” Human Television distance themselves from their cynical and lovelorn British brethren and establish their undeniable boyish charm.