Review: Family Video – ‘Maybe This Summer’

Family Video packshot

Family Video

Maybe This Summer (Gold Flake Tapes)

Grade: B+

Desolate landscapes have always been fecund territory for inspiration. The natural beauty found in vast expanses of snowy tundra have spawned much in the way of enlightened and heartfelt output, and we’re willing to bet the cinematic expanses on the doorstep of Canada’s Newfoundland had a large part to play in the development of Family Video.

Family Video inhabit a space that’s hard to pin down, being at once intensely honest and emotive, and at the same time harbouring the confidence of lackadaisical slacker rock. But this combination, displayed on their new album Maybe This Summer, released through Gold Flake Tapes (the cassette label spin-off from perpetual purveyors of good taste Gold Flake Paint) is certainly a mix of aesthetics that pays off. And pays off in a big way. Recorded in a breakneck four months, the nine tracks on the album showcase Family Video’s vehemently lo-fi sound, reflected in the grainy imagery their name invokes, and stands proudly front and center, not least in album opener ‘Ten Years Will Pass’. The song begins slow and steady with a gentle analogue keyboard chiming out the melody over a propulsive, mid-tempo beat, with singer Jam King’s delightfully off-kilter vocals telling an affecting tale revolving around the tragedy of being left with memories of her youth that she can never get back. Who can’t relate to that?

The album amps things up on ‘She Reminds Me’ which races headlong into a sing-along chorus of ‘”OOO OHS” and bursts with the type of energy found in the early catalogue of the likes of the Breeders and West coast Riot Grrrl. The title track showcases the marriage of melody and lyricism that runs all the way through this record, with King delivering lines like “And whilst she’s loving another, you’re on your way / Like the icebergs you visit on Father’s day”, over the infectious casio infused melody, the drums rising from the background into a crescendo of epic proportions. And speaking of epic proportions, ‘Pour Warm Water’ hits hard with a towering guitar line that delivers like a hitherto undiscovered Slanted and Enchanted-era Pavement track. But throughout the album, it’s clear that the star of the show is King’s lyrical ability, each song being a carefully constructed story of urban love and loss that would give Waxahatchee a serious run for her money.

Maybe This Summer, is an album that has, at its heart, a painful honesty and brims with parables of suburban decay and heartache told through its own beautiful simplicity and charm.

Maybe This Summer is out on 1st September on Gold Flake Tapes.

 

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