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Walter TV

Walter TV

Photo byBrandon Harnish

Live in Portland October 5 | Doug Fir

“What was it? Those dreams, those failures,” lead vocalist Pierce McGarry wails in opening single “Begotten” from Walter TV’s third album, Carpe Diem. (McGarry is also a cunning visual artist for the band and otherwise). This is paranoid art presented as hallucinogenic-merengue pop, playfully constructed by McGarry with the other two musicians (who also back Mac DeMarco) Simon Ankenman (a British Columbian canoe guide) and Joe McMurray (a solo electronic ambient artist otherwise). All of them have various projects, but Carpe Diem is a special release based on the pressing-in of turbulent times, with mind,  body and soul squeezed by an intimate Armageddon.

Deceptively taking things easy and strange from bucolic-slash-manic urban Vancouver, Canada, Carpe Diem is made up of ten delightful little collages evoking the sound of anxiety eased from a place where anything can happen. It also sounds a bit like a dub remix of a Bizarro-world DeMarco release, or a basement tape from Os Mutantes. “Last Day” has its low moans of gentle horns tumble into florid acoustic territory; “Laura Palmer” is a perfect bass-driven basement punk song that weaves a dream upon softly rolling tribal drums. Burbles of melodic murmuring and fractured lo-fi riffs float into song-space throughout. The first 300 copies of the LP were pressed on opaque yellow vinyl, which they’ll hopefully have with them on the road this fall.

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Walter TV’s live show is a sight to behold, as most of the music seems to come out of nowhere. As apocalyptic as this all seems, it’s still simple fun, and there’s an uplifting vibe to an anthem such as “Graceland,” having the listener questioning modern life but without getting all depressed about it. Instead it’s a ceremony of surf and waves at night offered as a solution to the weary day job world (“U+Y”). Even whilst contemplating the end of the world, Walter TV remain as friendly as a Ramones single, even as they avoid rock clichés at break-neck speeds. »