The New York new wave reprobates’ debut delivers instant gratification via boisterous choruses and loveable melodies
Public Access T.V. are under no illusions about the task that lies ahead of them. “They say the kids don’t like rock ’n’ roll any more,” laments frontman John Eatherly on aptly titled new single ‘End Of An Era’. It’s true; even in Eatherly’s beloved Lower East Side, rock ’n’ roll has been dying on its arse for a while now. Yet Public Access T.V. have the irrepressible, never-say-die optimism of true believers: on the long road to releasing their debut album, the New York quartet have already overcome drug addiction, a fallout with their first label, Polydor, and the destruction of their shared apartment (along with most of their possessions) in a freak gas explosion. They’ve shown remarkable perseverance to make it this far, but it’s their melodic powers of persuasion that should ensure ‘Never Enough’ finds its audience.
It won’t take you long to fall for this album. ‘Never Enough’ is laser-focused on doing the simple things to perfection: guitar, bass and drums in service of verse-chorus-verse hooks that will rattle around your head for days with rakish, disreputable charm in spades. Whereas many of their contemporaries appear either ashamed or incapable of writing a killer chorus, each of PATV’s songs take, on average, about 40 seconds to reach their first one – and from the Cars-y after-hours sleaze of ‘Evil Twin’ to the boisterous swagger of ‘In Love And Alone’, it’s easy to imagine any of them being singles.
Eatherly might have quit school at 16 to pursue a life on the road with Be Your Own Pet, but his real education has clearly come from the great new wave songwriters of the 1970s – Ric Ocasek, Nick Lowe, Tom Petty etc – who are a much bigger influence on this band than, for example, The Strokes. On tracks like ‘In Our Blood’ and ‘Sudden Emotion’, PATV sound more endearingly awkward than devastatingly cool, and it’s that naive, unabashed enthusiasm – for melody, for romantic misadventure and for living in New York – that makes ‘Never Enough’ such a joy to listen to. “Metropolis is played out these days,” sings Eatherly at one point. “But I don’t wanna live in California / I’ll take New York any day.” The kids would surely concur.