[sic] Magazine

My TV is Dead – Freedomatic

A more than decent effort this by French duo, My TV Is Dead . (Editors post-script; the band are Belgian and not French as originally published.) I will peg them as electro rock but Freedomatic embraces many genres. There’s some angst and doom in here, certainly but this isn’t a po-faced album. Any glumness is more than outweighed by a number of toe-tappers. My TV is Dead are funk soul brothers. Many of these pieces bump and grind, not quite in the class of a Prince or OutKast , but certainly at the Chili Pepper or INXS level. ‘Riot Love’ is a perfect example, stomping along, as it does, with barely veiled suggestiveness. I thought it was called Sweet Sister Love until I reached for the digipak. Maybe should have been. I think I prefer it.

Now, how many times has ‘Strange Fruit’ been covered? Probably more than most (‘cept maybe ‘Louie Louie’?) Yet My TV is Dead pull it off. Their version fizzes and crackles with urgency, somehow adding value to a song that has had the life flogged out of it. In fact, I prefer this version to the Twilight Singers effort from She Loves You , a band who are probably another valid referece point, but My TV is Dead will need to go some way to approach that kind of level overall.

There’s a Radiohead feel to the heart of Freedomatic . ‘As Fast As You Can’ feels lifted from Hail To The Thief . ‘Just Another Day’ is equally desperate sounding. When I say “heart of the album”, it should have been, but isn’t. My TV is Dead should have ended it around the tenth track, twelthe maximum, but didn’t. Instead the album entered a kind of unnecessary extra time – a barren period where all parties appeared to be playing for penalties. In fairness, the band were probably gushing with ideas and eager to showcase as many facets as possible. Less might well have been more in this instance although I’m warming to ‘Soft Parade’.

I can’t help thinking that the rest of North Europe is finding it much easier to enjoy themselves than the UK at present. My TV is Dead may be one of those inauspicious monikers that sounds a little like a lot of ‘something elses’ but they know how to have fun. The band are Francophone but the lyrics (in English) are sung without an overtly French accent. I might have even pegged them as Belgian (the album was recorded in Brussels) as they share some commonality with the likes of Larko and Showstar . Album highlight, ‘Love In Stereo’ even has aspects of leading Belgian indie act, Girls In Hawaii , and is an absolute joy to listen to. As is Freedomatic overall. It gets the thumbs up from me. I would certainly like to see what the band does next.