Review: Foreign Television – Youthless

Francis Allen is a one-man music machine originally from Wales but now residing in Moscow. Three years in the making, his debut recording under the name of Foreign Television favours an ambient/dreampop sound to formulate an immersive, mesmerising experience.

Foreign Television Album Cover

Each song tends to be wrapped up in shoegaze layers but moments of clarity are to be found like an acoustic guitar on ‘Neva’ as he sings “You’re wrapping question marks around my neck. To make me wonder why I left”. Allen may not be knocking on the door of his birth country’s famous male voice choirs anytime soon but he is able to capture emotion on these melancholic songs, which seem to be at least partially fuelled by romantic loss. He is also canny enough to make use of vocal layering which captivates on ‘Longlights’ (a track also characterised by some crisp and lively beats) and the bizarrely-named ‘Olympic Christie’. The opener ‘August’ shimmers elegantly and gradually whilst the rumbling ‘To Brazil’ opts for a blissed-out approach and right through to the grandiose finale, ‘Beach’, Allen is still experimenting and pushing the boundaries of his production skills.

‘Youthless’ is blessed or cursed (depending on your outlook) with a strong sense of isolation but even though the lyrics seem completely downbeat, the songs drift pleasantly by. Naturally, glacial, lambent music like this won’t be to everyone’s liking but for any fans of the slower side of the shoegaze and ambient movement, it certainly comes recommended.

Web Sites:
Foreign Television Bandcamp

Further Listening:
Oppressed By The Line, Daniel Land And The Modern Painters

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