Public Access T.V.

Street Safari

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    8
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AllMusic Review by

The wall-to-wall hooky, snarling power pop of Public Access T.V.'s 2016 debut, Never Enough, may have seemed like a tough act to follow. For their next album, the band enlisted the help of Chairlift's Patrick Wimberly, who's produced for the likes of Beyoncé, Solange, and MGMT. Arriving 16 months after their debut, Street Safari defies the sophomore slump with another collection of sharply crafted tunes that play like singles. It's a slightly more refined and thoughtful set on average, one that plays like an undergrad to Never Enough's skipping out on summer school, but it still struts and shrugs and keeps cigarettes in its shirt sleeve. "Shell No. 2" has a sleek arrangement built around the rhythm section, with a keyboard that mirrors the vocal line. Spiky guitar, horns, and doo-wah backing vocals enter before they break out a Shangri-Las-like spoken-word bridge on the way to an earworm chorus. It's one of a handful of songs that has singer and main songwriter John Eatherly hopeful but on the outside looking in ("Well, I saw you with them boys in leather"). Meanwhile, tracks like "Your God and Mine" and "Lost in the Game" deliver big hooks and panache even at some of the album's more middling tempos. On the other end of the BPM range, "Rough Boy" channels the Ramones to take on the military industrial complex. Along the way, yelps, exaggerated glottal stops, and Beach Boys harmonies are encouraged but not overplayed, and, collectively, the choruses put many a greatest-hits collection to shame.

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