It is hard to separate the members of Walter TV from Canada’s homegrown smart-ass Mac Demarco. Or at least that used to be the sentiment when they shared band mates, a juvenile sense of humour, and perchance, some musical ideas.
In some ways things have not changed as members of Walter TV continue to serve as Demarco’s touring band, and the warped self-indulgent humour continues to amuse us. With their latest release titled Blessed, Walter TV demonstrates that they are their own creature, capable of really expressive sounds sans Demarco, even if they share the same warbled analog recording technique.
There is of course the expected ridiculousness highlighted by songs like “Paranormal Witness,” whose YouTube video and overall sense of silly is so out there it belongs in a Beavis and Buthead sequel. The song quickly fixes itself in the brain, and it becomes very difficult to try to stop singing the darn thing. There is also the ironically titled “Punk Song” which could be plucked straight out of the doo-wop days of pre rock-n-roll, even having a slight tinge of polka to it.
Thankfully, there is also some really good substance that distracts us from the sideshow. Tracks like “Walter’s Kaya” and “Surf Metal” showcase the band at their deceptively sloppy surf-rock best. There is huge talent hidden amongst the lackadaisical time signatures or off kilter riffs. Further proof of their brilliance can be heard on arguably the greatest Walter TV track to date, “Fan (with keyboards).” It’s a moment where the patented Walter TV falsetto, often used for comedic evil, sounds raw and powerful alongside killer amped up riffs.
So while it’s true that one of their prior band mates has found solo indie stardom, Walter TV need not ride any coattails or drop any names for recognition. Blessed is the mark of band that knows what it is doing. Ultimately, this is a complete record, shenanigans, lunacy and all.