- 17 Apr 20
The electronic indie five piece artfully capture the anxieties and regrets of mental illness, perfectly balanced with a massive, dancey sound that makes the darkness feel just a little lighter.
When exploring the topic of mental illness, it can become far too easy to get sucked into the darkness. As toxic thoughts and regrets manifest throughout the songwriting process, there’s a desire to cement the melancholy with equally somber sounds. But amid the somber realities of the world, sometimes it’s more powerful to reframe the darkness with something more upbeat. On CCTV, Columbia Mills do just that. The lyrics artfully capture insecurities and anxieties, contrasted with a massive sound that teeters on the edge of electronic dance music to create a composition that feels balanced and moving.
The record is marked by introspection, as frontman Fiachra Treacy looks back at the choices he’s made, the people he’s let down and the ones that have helped aid him in his journey of personal growth. It opens with the title track ‘Car Crash TV’, a slow build that sets the pace for the next nine tracks with synths and drums that fill the room. ‘You only love when you begin to hate yourself,’ he sings, finishing with ‘I can’t get these chemicals to balance in my head.’ The electronic indie-rock sound captures fleeting feelings of nostalgia, sometimes strongly reminiscent of the introspective dance music of New Order and LCD Soundsystem. Tracks ‘Isolate’ and ‘The Greatest Love’ lean most heavily into the electronic side, offering moments of hope accompanied by immaculately produced sounds that feel almost club ready. They’re songs to sing your heart out to while getting lost in the music, dancing alone or in a room with just your closest friends.
‘Understand’, an almost U2-esque anthemic track, and ‘You’re Not The Answer’ are personal letters to people who have been sucked under by darkness, whether it be drugs or the watching those around them die. The latter is inspired by a conversation Fiachra had with his mother as she grappled with the realities of her mortality, exploring the deep worries before ultimately settling on, ‘If we talk about that, what’s there left to say anyway.’ Each centres on a specific personal moment, yet they feel incredibly universal.
CCTV closes with the somber powerhouse ‘Mirror on the Front Seat.’ It toys with shoegaze-tinged guitars, building up in the final verse to a layered climax that leaves me feeling breathless, an incredibly satisfying end to the musical journey. The record is Columbia Mills’ best work yet. It offers a beautiful portrait of loneliness, while feeling anything but.