The History Of Colour TV – Something Like Eternity

The History Of Colour TV – Something Like Eternity

The band website says much about The History Of Colour TV and their music even before the first notes have spilled out of the speakers. An animated sequence of dark, rain heavy stormclouds blowing overhead, preparing to unleash all manner of thunderous weather conditions. As an introduction to the Berlin-based post-rock trio, whose third album Something Like Eternity is, it is a powerful one. Then a search around the group’s label site reveals that a piece of kinetic artwork has been based around one of The History Of Colour TV’s songs, and their image takes on an additional dimension, that of actual artists. It seems as if the music itself is only part of the story with The History Of Colour TV, and what with the dark imagery and Dadaist humour around them, you could be forgiven for expecting randomly generated electronics, overwhelming waves of metal noise, bass-heavy trance with an incomprehensible spoken vocal, or some combination of those styles and elements. As it is, the twelve tracks on Something Like Eternity are none of these things.

What we do get is a band sound that is part post-rock, part grunge and part psych-rock, one that is lighter in tone than some of its visual accompaniment might have suggested. Mostly avoiding much in the way of overdubbing and mixing board pyrotechnics, first track “Granite Verge Of Tears” seems to fade-out too soon despite its over six minutes of resonant, melodic collisions between guitar, bass and drums. Plus “Granite Verge …” is an actual song, structured and played with audible nods to wards variously MBV, mid-’80s indie, one or two Sub Pop obscurities, and others, and while The History Of Colour TV seem reluctant to add a production gloss to their music, the track has a focused clarity that will keep you listening.  From beginning to end the songs on Something Like Eternity are sharply played and if they perhaps could use an occasional boost from the soundboard, it’s the raw energy of the band themselves that sustains the momentum. The History Of Colour TV come across like they’re very probably a formidable live outfit.

“Everything That Stood Still” mixes psychedelic whimsy and grungy thrashing to notable effect, stretching the quiet/loud format to its limits. “Even Rain” is the band’s epic anthemic show-stopper, and “Wait” sees them channelling their inner-Kurt with a practised enthusiasm. Instrumental “Overcast Half” and “Pattern” have them taking other directions though, into experimentalism and prog grandiosity, and particularly the latter track proves beyond doubt that The History Of Colour TV are something more than checked shirt Seattle revivalists. Then finally, nothing that precedes it could prepare the listener for last track “August Twenty First”, an almost six minute recording of a rain shower, complete with one or two rolls of thunder. Exactly what this could signify is left to the audience to decipher and The History Of Colour TV wouldn’t, I am fairly certain, tell us any more than they thought we should know.

For several reasons I very much like Something Like Eternity, what with its garage-rock aesthetic, its deft way with a chord sequence, the wooden turntable and the six minute recording of a rainstorm. It all just works in a way that I sometimes want albums by other bands, by bigger, better known and more established bands to work. The History Of Colour TV aren’t one of those bands and they probably don’t actually want to be, but that hasn’t stopped them from making an album that pushes musical and artistic boundaries in a way that is guaranteed to impress almost anyone that hears it.

Cranes Records