Album Review – An Embarrassment of Riches by TV Sets (2022) (Self released)
I have always had a bit of a “square pegs in round holes” relationship with Toronto’s, TV Sets, inasmuch that nothing seems to fit easily between me and them.
Initially their earliest releases seemed too far into experimental pop for me to really understand what was going on? After all, for my sins, if it does not jangle then I really don’t ‘get it’.
Then all of a sudden in 2016, they made one of their numerous changes in aesthetic and released a Gen Pop EP that included the immense, lo-fi jangly strains of So Fortunate. It was something of an outlier on the release, but ended up informing the simply sublime cadence of the Elsewhere EP of 2017.
Naturally such is my thwarted relationship with this band, I forgot to press the Bandcamp follow button and as such I failed to see that their long awaited debut album (virtually their first new music in five years) had been released until August, some ten weeks after the June 2022 release. I think the young ones say ‘my bad’ or might have some years back. For I have missed out on ten weeks of jangly pleasure.
At it’s finest it is truly smooth. Not quite sophisti-pop, as it way too lo-fi for such extravangances and the generally experimental ‘indie intros’ revel in slightly obtuse appeal, but certainly buffed enough to reveal a marvelous sheen. This aesthetic is best represented by Evelyn, Henrietta, The Fog and Fives, which all offer a sound reminiscent of the recent Mt.Misery style luscious jangle-pop and croon.
Of course, as with all the best jangle-pop albums, it was not without drive. This is provided by Teen Sleep, Hey Restraint and Winter Skin. All 90s in manifestation these tracks mix the jangliest the decades acts, with the same era Britpop muscularity. It is a sound jangly enough to be considered as having Lost Ships style janglyindie-pop inferences, whilst simultaneously bordering on the The Shop Window aesthetic of subtle raucous.
You never quite know where the TV Sets will end up on their next release, such is their eclectic proclivities. Lets just hope we get a bit more jangle before they saunter off into the realms of Albanian Techno or Monasterial Synth-pop ?!!