Being compared to a creative giant like Thom York may spur interest in your musical project, but at the same time expectations are going to soar, perhaps even beyond what may be reasonable. Not to mention that, well, let's face it - you're bound to look derivative. Home Video faces such a struggle, but to their credit, it must be said; these guys know what they're doing. It's quite easy to replicate a sound, in fact even the best of sounds. But to make it sound like your own? That there is the challenge, and Home Video is more than up for it.
Not to suggest that their debut (and initial series of EPs) were so drowned in the Radiohead concept that they couldn't stand on their own, but they were most definitely subject to the comparison. With their latest, Collin Ruffino and David Gross truly step into their own. While Ruffino's vocals are no less Thom Yorke-esque, the music speaks for itself. Gross' classical training stands out on tracks such as the Grey's Anatomy endorsed Business Transaction, which begins with a piano melody recalling Chopin. Or the arrangements on, say, the opening Accomplished but Dead, which takes minimalist electronica to a new level with its supreme mood establishment.
Which brings us to the lyrical aspect; so seldom are such basic concepts worded in such a direct fashion that they simultaneously hit home hard, but also give a bit of subtlety as to make the listener really contemplate as to where the hell the songwriters were coming from. You Will Know What to Do, released previously on the I Can Make You Feel It EP, digs in to the psyche with lines like "Did you wonder so innocently, why is this happening, who will save me? You Were" cut into the very insecurities that the most hardened folks tuck away; Ruffino seems to be solely interested in taking apart the most basic feelings your average person has to reveal just how similar we all really are. Another fine example is the excellent title track, which does a fine job of relating the global struggles which have risen as of late to basic, personal issues, particularly not knowing one's place in the world.
Minimalist electronica that swipes clear inspiration from Radiohead (and Thom Yorke's solo effort in particular) may sound bland and uninspired in theory, but this duo has truly taken the notion and made it their own. This is a band with their own unique ideas and twists on the sound, and more importantly, something to say. While it may not be the most original thing you'll hear this year, Home Video has unquestionably offered up something that won't just remind you of whence it came; it will provoke thoughts, feelings, and perhaps most significantly, something to which you can relate. Ruffino and Gross are coming into their own here, and it would come as no surprise if their third full-length drew a mass audience as well as mass critical praise. Do not sleep on these guys!