After their self-titled debut album in 2021, the Ventura, CA band TV Party haven’t been slowing down. In 2022, they joined the Punk in Drublic Fest on some dates. Fast-forward to 2023, and the band have another delicious, heavily influenced ’70’s/’80’s punk album ready for the public.
Psychic Driving is the name of their sophomore album. It was a form of radical therapy developed by Dr. Donald Cameron in the ‘50s. To sum it up, it was tapings of positive messages played on a loop for an uncertain amount of time to reprogram the individual patients. Psychic Driving was recorded with Jon Gilbert (Oliver Hazard, The Kills, OFF!) in Los Angeles.
“Imaginary Girlfriend” delivers some ’80’s synth that continues throughout the song but has a much less distorted sound, while “Save Your Life” figures out how to balance the distorted sound of guitars and bass throughout the song while staying with some ’80’s punk-inspired sound from Bauhaus right before they broke up the first time. Bringing it back to the ’70s, it feels like a Clash song; it’s “British Petroleum.” The drumming steals the show on this track, and the music has you nodding. This will be a power song when they play it live.
The songs “Pocket Full of Harold” and “Fentanyl” describes vocalist Jesse Brinkenhoff’s experience with drugs, heroin, and fentanyl. As you hear during “Pocket Full of Harold,” the lyrics are “Pocket full of heroin; you were my saving grace.” And on “Fentanyl,” a relatively slow-paced song with some The Beatles-esque melodies, Brinkenhoff describes the effects that Fentanyl had on him. As he says in the press release, fentanyl knocks one out, like an anesthetic. You hear this in the lyrics during the song, “Nothing makes my world so small, like Fentanyl.” Finally, “black Mascara” closes the album with some powerful lyrics in which Brinkenhoff reminisces on past relationships and how lonely one can feel.
The album delivers consistency, a natural progression from the band. TV Party are already skilled songwriters, as we heard on their self-titled debut. Yet this album delivers a more personal vibe in many songs. But the ambition and risks that the TV Party were willing to take musically works. Psychic Driving is only 31 minutes and is made up of 12 songs, but time flies by when you listen to it.
One gets lost in the vocals from Brinkenhoff and goosebumps from the guitars supplied by Parker Cohen and Aidan O’Donnell. Even drummer Justin Dempsey steals some songs with his ability to go along with the different sounds without being drowned out by the added instruments on some songs. Of course, Matt Kash is on the bass, ensuring a balance in harmony between the rest of the instruments. Psychic Driving nails what their debut lacked, and not to compare the two albums, as it’s clear that they have grown and become a lot more confident, but this album is worth anyone’s time.
Stream the album here.