Swedish trio Turn Off Your Television’s music refuses to become the victim of the “background.” It will never elicit the response, “I’d listen to it, but not actively listen to it.” Turn Off Your Television demands listeners’ attention by bringing them out of the visual realm and into the auditorial world, solely because visuals are a distraction when the music is good.
Whether you agree or disagree with this interpretation, it seems to me that few bands would go so far philosophically to bring attention to their craft. Turn Off Your Television becomes vibrantly fresh upon each listen. The only thing I would be distracted by is the music they play, and I’m pretty sure that’s the point.
I once reviewed the band’s self-titled debut on an old blog of mine, saying that “it didn’t particularly have me wooing for its lack of deep lyricism or straight-to-the-heart emotional delivery, but it’s the kind of ‘at ease’ sound that doesn’t look to overpower you.” This remains true for their follow-up album, Humble Waves, and Wasted Time EP as well. Both deliver that warm, acoustic, rock-back attitude that instantly reminds me of Sub Pop’s Husky from earlier this year or the Sparklehorse and Band of Horses influences that the band itself claims.
The ambition of Turn Off Your Television lies right beneath each progressive chord they play and vocalist Jon Rinneby’s subtle accents, which are strewn across their releases. But there’s no pretention by any stretch of the imagination — the band plays music to the extent that they know how, and they don’t aim to initially impress but rather sink into your skin over the course of their records. The lasting impressions give the band the extra power that could make them one of the more respectable up-and-comers over the next year. It’s hard to deny them a listen, and you can start by turning off your television now.
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