If I were driving to work these days — instead of rolling out of bed and shuffling over to the desk in the corner of the room — the debut album, Worst Invention, by Memphis band TvYellow would be my first choice to soundtrack the morning drive Downtown. Though the commute is far shorter in these work-from-home days, a healthy dose of Worst Invention is still the best medicine to help jolt myself out of the morning fog. The album is a shot in the arm, a wake-up call for somnambulists sleepily stumbling through the morning.
TvYellow is Salvador Sanchez, Luke Stubblefield, Noel Clark, Billy Ray Thomas, and relatively new recruit Crockett Hall, who joined the band as vocalist during the recording process. “They’d already cut all the music with Matt Qualls at Young Avenue Sound before I joined the band,” Hall tells me. “So all I had to was write the lyrics and vocal melodies.”
Hall continues, “It was my first time writing to songs that I had not been a part of from their inception, so it was a really challenging and fun experience for me.” If Hall hadn’t said so, I never would have guessed. The vocal melodies are in perfect harmony with the instrumentation, and the turnarounds are tight, as if the band mates have been sharing stages for years.
The first track, “TV Yellow,” is a personal favorite. It opens with a drum hit followed by rhythm and lead guitars playing in lockstep. The bass marries the melody and the beat. “I don’t want you to do just what you’re told,” Hall sings. “I just want you in my head to tell me just what I’m fighting for.” The song is catchy, and I found myself humming it on and off all weekend.
While “Grow Up” makes excellent use of the punkish down-strum, “Under the Rug” opens with a melodic riff. There is a hint of punk in the TvYellow melting pot, but it presents itself more in the band’s attitude than in adherence to genre tropes.