Hamilton, Ontario’s TV Freaks are back with Bad Luck Charms, their third full length album to date, and first for the wonderful Deranged Records. Their new label home is the perfect place for their brand of dark and manic garage punk. They manage to hit all the best parts of this little subgenre while also making a statement as to why they are one of the most unique bands to come out of the burgeoning scene.
TV Freaks play frantic garage punk, peppered with touches of hardcore and dark undertones throughout. The guitar has a somewhat hollow and tinny tone to it, but with a bit more distortion than what is found in a typical garage act. The bass is crunchy and the drums compliment the music at whatever speed the band is playing at. They go from slow crawlers like “Forget You” to barn burners like “Pick My Brain,” and everywhere in between. Most songs hang around a nice driving speed, but the band will sometimes stop on a dime and change things up out of nowhere. Never does it feel forced though, and they are great at crafting interesting songs that can keep your attention.
The vocals probably give the band most of their unique flavor. They are jangly and manic, often with some kind of reverb effect which leads to the vocals sounding more like another instrument added to the mix, rather than the driving force of a song. They also match up perfectly with the tempo and feel of the songs. If the song is slower or a mid-tempo driver, the vocals will be pulled back or equally as driving, and when the music lets loose into its more hardcore moments, the vocals are wailed and screamed.
Overall, Bad Luck Charms is a well-crafted album that is a great listen from start to finish. Though, even after a dozen or so listens, not many songs are stand outs. This is an album that you will pretty much always listen to as a whole piece, rather than picking out a few songs as favorites. But if you already like or find yourself interested in the dark garage punk boom going on in Canada and the Northwest, do yourself a favor and pick this one up.
4 / 5 Stars
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