Review Summary: Electronic Brooklyn duo offers up a sophomore attempt full of more arty atmospherics.
I recall being initially inclined to check out Home Video's 2006 debut No Certain Night or Morning
after reading some review or article from some now forgotten source comparing the album to the highly revered Kid A
. It's not that I'm a humongous fan of Radiohead's headfirst plunge into all things electro; it's just that mere references to the Oxford quintet are essentially tantamount to high praise. Setting such lofty expectations can often lead to disappointment, but for the most part, the record delivered on the hype. Aside from the four-track It Will Be OK
EP, which dropped in early '09, it's been a four-year wait for some new music, but with the release of The Automatic Process
, Home Video once again bring the goods.
In truth, Process
might be something of a dissapointment for those who hate on "Part Two" type albums, because it's very much a continuation of the debut. Once again, we have a set of electronic tunes that exist more as textural exercises than hip-shaking dancefloor numbers, while still maintaining a sufficiently pronounced pop foundation to keep it all within the realm of accessibility. However, repeat performance or not, it's hard to find fault with such nuanced execution. There's also enough variety to keep the album fresh over multiple listens. Cuts like the opener "Accomplished but Dead" and "No Relief" compound synth buzz with ethereality in a way that's comparable to New Order and Depeche Mode with a pinch of Cocteau Twins. "Business Transaction", with its lush keys and Collin Ruffino's chilling Yorke-like falsetto makes it the most natural Radiohead analog. "An Accident" exhibits the rhythmic beats and icy eeriness of The Knife's Silent Shout
, in sharp contrast with a track like "Beatrice", which is dreamy, intimate, and maybe even a little sexy.
Over the course of its eleven tracks, The Automatic Process
paints Home Video as a talented duo capable of piecing together a broad range of influences into an enjoyable, if a bit unfocused, record. The album's eclecticism will undoubtedly appeal to some, myself included, but also leaves one wondering what exactly Home Video aim to be. Thus far, they've laid a solid groundwork with plenty of territory ripe for exploration. Let's hope we don't have to wait four more years to find out where they go next.