If you’ve been keeping up with the melodic punk music of UV-TV, then their new LP, HAPPY, will feel like a natural evolution to the stripped-down, sped-up gazey, twee sound of past releases, Go Away and Glass (2017).
For Ian Bernacett and Rose Vastola, the masterminds behind UV-TV, 2018 was spent writing and recording the 9-track LP while simultaneously uprooting from Gainesville and migrating north to NYC, where the album was finally mixed and mastered.
HAPPY unabashedly explores the tropes of letting go of the past with an amicable catharsis that proves they can evolve their sound without losing their edge. Despite the name, the overall tone of the record comes across as a moodier interpretation of their almost jovial punk attitude—with the title track exemplifying that HAPPY is a much more personal and thoughtful album from the band. Right out of the gate, the production is cleaner and more buttoned up, perhaps signifying that this record is more serious in nature. While Ryan Hopewell’s charged drumming kicks off the first track, Hide, giving us the UVTV energy we’re familiar with from previous records, stylistic nuances quickly prove that the band has been drawing on some deeper influences, including The Pastels, Echo and the Bunnymen, and Slowdive among others. As the arc of the album brings us to a more vulnerable place like on the track, World, it becomes obvious there’s a new kind of sincerity in their choices compared to the last two releases. By the final track, Falling Down, the entirety of the album has conceptualized the personal and musical growth of UVTV since we last heard them in 2017.
UV-TV was born in 2015, in the chaos of Gainesville’s thriving DIY scene. With Ian Bernacett’s driving riffs and Rose Vastola’s rock-steady vocals, the two have a knack for writing solid, energetic songs with a sweetness that sticks in your head. As UV-TV continues to push the genre boundaries across their discography, their roots are still deeply embedded in the prolific punk movement they’ve grown from—and you can certainly hear it.
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