Review Summary: Spooky dancey Thom Yorke boiis
As I sit to write this review of Brooklyn, New York-based Home Video’s (not to be confused with America’s Funniest Home Videos..) debut full-length No Certain Morning or Night, I am listening to introductory track Sleep Sweet’s melodic guitar, driving bass and beats section. The music is ethereal and spooky, but certainly oriented in dance. Vocalist Colin Ruffino’s Thom Yorke impression is absolute peak, if not a little less shy to drone on an uneven note every now and again, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing depending on the listener.
At 28, I have listened to this record countless times. Hundreds, most likely. I fondly remember reading fantasy novels while it rained outside and my dad worked at his desk, listening to this album. The dark, crooning mood was perfect for that vibe. Now that many friends and family have passed, I want to write this review. I want to explore this record.
Home Video is comprised of New Orleans-born and bred vocalist and guitarist Colin Ruffino (also of Bank of Forever and Still Return) and bassist/keyboardist David Gross, with live performances including Jim Orso on drums. No Certain Night or Morning contains 10 tracks, though a deluxe edition with 2 additional (though not essential) tracks exists in the Apple store I believe.
The majority of the album (released on Warp Records, mind you) orbits around buzzing, warm synthesizer arpeggios, drum machines, clean guitar lines with effects, and slow, thoughtful moments. The creativity of synth work is truly fun too. Tracks like ‘Gas Tank’ really display the band’s ability to generate and release tension as well. The electronics certainly drive the song structures, with rhythmic layers in tracks like ‘Confessions of a Time Traveler’ adding a sense of urgency.
Album closer ‘Melon’ is actually the song that hooked me on the band. The slow, analog synth intro and meditative vocal buildup caught me; the simple beat that drives the song is hypnotic, but only because of the implied emotional intensity of the lyrics Ruffino intones “Subway tunnels filled with river, bodies spinning in the silver.. I felt cold since we started, but I guess it doesn’t matter.”
Now that my dad isn’t around, listening to this album has become even more than the meditative experience it always is for me. Now it ties me to a place in my memory and for that I am even more convinced I will always listen to this album. And the Radiohead comparisons finally make sense for why this record is so important to me – it’s like my first Radiohead record I listened to. That’s why I love it so much. I didn’t even hear Hail to the Thief until 2016, let the shame roll.
As Ruffino intones in ‘Melon’, “I wonder what you would say, if you were really here today?”