Review: TC Superstar, As Seen on TV

Toxic media consumption and deflated millennial aspirations inform synth-pop troupe’s third LP

Review: TC Superstar, <i>As Seen on TV</i>

As TC Superstar's previous LP followed will-they-won't-they high school sweethearts, the Austin music/dance group's third album takes on a concept similarly steeped in American myth: the television. A Broadway-ready keyboard slide draws the curtains for self-referential opener "Always a Feeling." Vocalist/bandleader Connor McCampbell starts: "Superstar wakes up and turns on the TV." Exuberant group vocals and a chipper pace move the sometimes chilly synthwave into brighter, warmer, Seventies pop/rock territory.

In 2019, "Dana Be Mine" proved the project's capacity for songwriting hypnosis sans onstage dancers. As Seen on TV leaves no doubt on a front-loaded run, beginning with the wiry six-string staccato of "Waste My Time." The standout dazzles like Talking Heads under McCampbell's deep tone, continuing theatrical flair akin to the Lemon Twigs. In an album shimmying around the toxicity of media consumption, the clever take on phone addiction precedes a catchy listing of deflated millennial aspirations on "Be Like You." A 401(k), eye exam, and oil change are just out of reach, as are the pure joys of pre-streaming cable (on "Nothing to Believe In").

McCampbell's best satirizing sticks to his own generation's nostalgic desire for consumer comforts. In the album's downtempo second half, multi-character concepts wind semi-convoluted around past-gen corner office dreams. Side B's best moments abandon TV themes, following a devoted couple enduring the husband's terminal illness ("With You"). Bold swings – whether choreographic gestures, album concepts, or color schemes – serve TC Superstar well.

****

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for over 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

READ MORE
More TC Superstar
Texas Platters
TC Superstar
R&D (Record Review)

Libby Webster, June 28, 2019

Playback – Lords of the Dance: TC Superstar
Playback – Lords of the Dance: TC Superstar
TC Superstar promotes body movement, Dallas Acid get blissed with Laraaji, a black metal binge, and Trouble in the Streets breaks rules

Kevin Curtin, Sept. 28, 2018

More by Rachel Rascoe
Faster Than Sound: 10 New Things to See at Hot Summer Nights
Faster Than Sound: 10 New Things to See at Hot Summer Nights
New bands, new names, and new releases among the hundred-plus free-entry acts

Aug. 5, 2022

Remembering Radio Legend John Aielli, 1946-2022
Remembering Radio Legend John Aielli, 1946-2022
Longtime KUT and KUTX host was loved for his eccentric insights and eclectic taste

Aug. 5, 2022

KEYWORDS FOR THIS STORY

TC Superstar

MORE IN THE ARCHIVES
NEWSLETTERS
One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

Eric Goodman's Austin FC column, other soccer news

Behind the scenes at The Austin Chronicle

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle