Under Review

tv ugly

UCLA Yankee Cola

Alarum; 15/09/2015

A quick look at tv ugly’s Bandcamp page shows that the band have labelled themselves with the genre of garbage pop. And while this may have been written with tongue firmly in cheek, it actually hints at the true nature of this Vancouver quartet. Unapologetically lo-fi, UCLA Yankee Cola is a collision of trashy guitars and sweet vocal melodies.

Opening tracks “QC” and “Werewolfing” lay down the band’s manifesto: Alie and Rage’s voices lodge catchy melodies in listeners’ minds whilst guitars stretch and bend over warm, fuzzy bass. The post-punk tinged “Night Before” switches things up. A lurching bass riff sets a darker tone before Gal takes a turn on the microphone to yelp urgently. The songs are short and sweet and the band sounds tight, but it’s the second half of the EP that shows us that tv ugly were just getting started.

Standout track, “Shiteating” channels the abrasive art-punk of Parquet Courts with a hypnotic riff, yet it’s soon balanced out with cooing vocals. Up next is “Slow Thighs”, a heady mixture of meandering guitar lines and propulsive drums. With lyrics showing disdain for other people’s “blank gazes,” this track shows that although tv ugly can do laid-back they sure as hell aren’t doing apathetic. The band saves a killer song for last with the veritable season finale of “Trash Party Island,” its call-and-response vocals and a decidedly unflashy guitar solo bringing the best bits of the ‘90s kicking and dancing into 2015.

With its total time clocking in at just under thirteen minutes, if UCLA Yankee Cola were a TV show it’d be the one you binge-watch in a single sitting and then wish for more: these snack-size slices of garbage pop are addictive indeed. These six short tracks may not have made tv ugly the kind of cult phenomenon that their EP and band name knowingly reference. But they are certainly good enough to serve as a trambopoline to launch tv ugly to success. Plus, with this being their first EP, it would seem that we have more garbage pop to look forward to in the future. What a time to be alive.