Hi-Def TV - A Long Year
Owain Paciuszko 21/11/2010
The gentle guitar lines and soft vocals of the title track ease the listener into the tentative, melancholic world of Hi-Def TV ably; the song itself contently floats along, with simple imagery conjured with a little quake in the voice tip-toeing around deeper emotional undercurrents, but just lapping at the shoreline with the kind of restraint familiar to Bill Callahan or Badly Drawn Boy in one of his more despondent, exploratory moods.
The Final Lives So Near feels like a direct continuation of the title track, to the extent that it becomes almost an echo of its precursor and doesn't really develop the imagery and ideas established so finely in that opening song. Disappointingly the similarities bleed over into final track Karl Johan, which offers shimmering guitar lines moodily ebbing and flowing in the background, but the track doesn't evolve beyond this - despite teasing the ears on occasion - and falters as a result.
Londoner Darren Plant (aka Hi-Def TV) is a consumate musician with a rich, evocative voice; however in comparison to his mid-2009 effort Leave Behind this EP is less a step backwards and rather it's more a case of not moving at all.