Genre: Indie Rock/Pop/Folk
Origin: Malmö, Sweden
Turn Off Your Television is a Swedish band that becomes the distraction rather than the medium referenced in their name. Instead of allowing music to become the victim of "background" or resulting in someone responding with "I'd listen to it but not actively listen to it," this band demands your attention by bringing you out of the visual realm and into the auditorial world, solely because visuals are a distraction. While you can agree or disagree with this interpretation, it seems to me that few bands would go so far philosophically to bring attention to their craft that Turn Off Your Television becomes vibrantly fresh upon each listen. The only thing I would be distracted by is the music they play, and I'm pretty sure that's the point.
Am I distracted enough by their debut self-titled album? Each track certainly makes a good case for it, with relaxing guitar melodies, gentle vocals and solid song construction. It doesn't particularly have me wooing for its lack of deep lyricism or straight-to-the-heart emotional delivery, but its that kind of "at ease" sound that doesn't look to overpower you. Singer/guitarist Jon Rinneby offers a Sparklehorse-like vocal style that, just based on that description, gives you the idea that the album decidedly slows down the tempos so you can take in every lingering strum and pick. Basically, it doesn't aim to change or break ground, but you'll be more than welcome to obtain the sounds it produces.
It does take its gentle time to properly evoke Rinneby's vocal style and give us a dynamic sampling of said genres. "I Just Cleaned The Floor," "Never Rustling Symphony" and "Southern Lights of Home" play like rock records that go for harmonious pleasure the way artists Gus Black or Grandaddy do, while managing to showcase their instrumental talents. That idea doesn't change too much throughout the rest of the album, maintaining this linearity that listeners will undoubtedly appreciate, even if its a bit of the same, but maybe that's part of the distraction the band wants us to diverge into.
For its solid 42-minute runtime, Turn Off Your Television is pretty harmless rock/pop/folk, to say the least. The sweet melodies do the job of setting us up for the sounds once put forth by such similar outfits like Band of Horses or the aforementioned Grandaddy, but where those bands effortlessly construct anthems that the independent scene could more or less embrace for their raw power, Turn Off Your Television makes a less defining case. It soars to heights that are only as high as it wishes to maintain, but never peaking higher than that. The result can come off as tame fare that could have gone the extra distance to be different and doesn't, but it still maintains a linear sound that comes as being appreciative.
Turn Off Your Television - "I Just Cleaned The Floor"
Turn Off Your Television - "Never Rustling Symphony"
Turn Off Your Television is available digitally through the band's Bandcamp Website, Amazon and iTunes.