Recording information: 360 Glen, Montreal, Vancouver; Drones Club, Montreal, Vancouver; Jizz Jazz Studios, Montreal, Vancouver.
Walter TV came into a full state of being around 2011 when multi-talented musicians Pierce McGarry and Joe McMurray moved from their home of Vancouver, B.C. into a house in Montreal with goof-pop solo artist Mac DeMarco and a host of other creative types. The band had recently gone from a trio to a duo, and shortly after their move McMurray and McGarry would sign on as the touring rhythm section for DeMarco's increasingly busy touring schedule, but before that transition, they crafted Appetite, the gloriously strange debut full-length from the Walter TV project. Though they would often be misrepresented in the press as "DeMarco's other band," DeMarco has no credits on Appetite, and the closer one listens to the album, the further it gets from his low-key stoner pop sound. A far better reference point would be the more manic side of Animal Collective, with McGarry's jubilant, chorus-drenched howls on songs like "Lo Noise" sounding remarkably like Avey Tare's shouts on his band's more rock-oriented breakthrough album, Feels. There are elements of surfy guitar and saturated home-recording production at play, too, and the best elements of Walter TV's bustling approach to songwriting come together nicely on dynamic tracks like "Africa." This song's striding bassline pushes the verses along in a jumpy rush until the pleasantly obnoxious screams of the choruses offer some relief from the building tension of the song. "Puka Shell Necklace" is perhaps the nexus point of the various influences informing Walter TV's strange and anxiously catchy sound. A bleary-eyed tempo guides brash, direct-input acoustic guitars and highly effected, trippy vocals in a rush of laid-back watery sounds. It's not slacker pop or freak folk, and not really anywhere in between, either, but Walter TV do offer up their own demented look at pop that wanders between all these various modes like a child happily lost at an amusement park. ~ Fred Thomas