TV Girl: Lonely Women EP – I was a child the first time I saw a Rubik’s cube, and on first glance I didn’t think this sort of puzzle would present too much of a challenge. After all, how hard could it be to line six colors up in an ordered sequence? It looked easy… but after several days of aimless flipping and spinning, I was still no closer to a solution. Little had I thought about the mechanics of the interlocking plastic pieces; I had been unable to envision what was inside. TV Girl‘s newest EP, Lonely Women, released on June 18, gave me the same sort of impression. On first listen, it comes across as sweet and innocent, with simple, straightforward melodies and a childlike vulnerability in the vocal delivery. However, lean up a little closer and you can be sure to discover layers of depth lurking beneath a thin and bright veneer.
TV Girl is Trung Ngo, Brad Petering, and Joel Williams from San Diego, and the music they create together seems to defy categorization. Lonely Women, the third EP in their repertoire, following the eponymous release in 2010 and the Benny and the Jets EP in 2011, manages to blissfully combine a little early ’60s innocence with modern beats, creative sampling, and honest, bittersweet lyrics.
The best example of the subtle but powerful songwriting characteristic of their work can be found on the third and middle track, ‘My Girlfriend’. It is not every day that the lyrics to a song can bring tears to my eyes, but this was a definite exception. As I sat there sniffling in the dark, I thought, “This is just so utterly honest and real, so achingly and beautifully human.” Paired with a slow, wistful, sweet melody and sung in a voice so soft it almost whispers, I am reminded again of the Rubik’s cube, or of the underdog in a fight, or of the meek soul who has been underestimated and in the end, triumphs. I think Stephin Merritt would be proud.
The other four songs on the Lonely Women EP are all more upbeat, and here the stark contrast between the candid lyrics and effervescent music becomes all the more vivid. The song ‘She Smokes In Bed’ is almost deceptive in its nature; while the sound is reminiscent of poodle skirts and Mary Janes, it is really about a woman who dies because she hasn’t taken Smokey The Bear’s wise and age-old advice.
All in all, I have to congratulate any band who has the ability to twist the senses like a good mystery novel. My only regret is that it wasn’t just a little longer… 8.6/10