BY LYDIA RIVERS
Television Blonde, the solo project of 19 year old Gabe Beckles from Cincinnati, Ohio, released his debut EP Horror Films on July 17, via Don’t Guitar Records. Heavily inspired by the movies he watched while writing during quarantine (look at those track titles again!), the songs off the lo-fi surf punk project easily flow and meld with one another through down-turned lyrics and upbeat melodies.
Horror Films is a gothy, grimy and unconcerned EP. It kicks off with “Creep Show,” a track that seems to be Beckles telling the world around him that he isn’t a spectacle for anyone to watch as he repeats “I’m not your creep show.” While the swirling guitar riffs might lead you to think it would be a carefree tune, Beckles monotone vocals — that are more spoken than sung — float in and out, winding down and grounding the washed out track.
The melancholic, indie rock feel of “Jaws (The Sadness of Me & You)” and “Sleepaway Camp” make for charming, easy-going tunes, but many of the lyrics feel as if they could’ve come from anyone. While I think that there’s something sincere and vulnerable beneath the surface, the self-deprecating lyricism makes the tracks feel hollow. Regardless, the sweetly punchy guitar melodies throughout are straight-up delightful.
Beckles says his sound is inspired by bands like Surf Curse and Gorgeous Bully, and is going for a dazed and washed out vibe. The influence is undeniable, although Horror Films feels a bit more sleepy than dazed. I would’ve hoped to hear more of who Beckles is sonically, but I appreciate the dark, inconsolable tone of the EP and think Television Blonde is a promising project. Horror Films is only Television Blonde’s first EP, and I’m looking forward to listening to what he puts out next!