By Grant Golden
June 6, 2022
Photo: Graham Morisson
For several years, Charlotte’s Family Video has gradually developed its elegant synth-rock sounds, which recently resulted in their debut album. Shades. shades is a collection of pop-punk style tracks that straddle the line between dance-y and dark, and find vocalist Josh Shabtai exploring the depths of grief, longing, love, loss and everything in between. .
Along with the album, the band released a stop-motion video for “One & Every”. “One & Every” is an ’80s-tinged ballad grounded in arpeggiated synth tracks, muted drum hits, and a subdued vocal melody that ebbs and flows with every verse and chorus. Family Video has teamed up with a Charlotte-based visual artist (and member of Yes Chef!) KC Marie Roberge for the video.
“KC’s video treatment revolves around a character who embarks on this epic quest to find their heart,” Shabtai explained. “‘One and Every’ is a deeply personal track, a song about trying to figure out how to move on after losing a loved one…she listened to the track, dug up the lyrics and came back with this epic, dreamlike journey that you see in the video.”
Produced by Danny Kalb at White Star Sound (Ben Harper, Beck), “One and Every” is one of the most nuanced tracks on the record. shades is mostly full of sharp synths interspersed with crisp guitars and distorted vocals, but the juxtaposition between this standard and the approach of “One & Every” helps make it a standout on the album. Not only does Shabtai dig deep into feelings of loss and isolation, he does so in a way that is full of pomp and fanfare.
“Everything on this record revolves around an obsessive love/hate relationship with nostalgia,” Shabtai said. “The internet has collapsed all sense of space and time – artifacts from the 70s, 80s, 90s are continually remixed and resurfaced, on demand, fueling an insatiable (and probably mistaken) sense that the past was better.”
Shabtai and the rest of Family Video convey this theme through a mix of tracks ranging from early indie rock (“The Image”) to 80s synth rock (“Smoke & Mirrors”) to downtempo ballads like “Angel of Can. But with tracks like ‘Animalized’, we see things moving into slightly more electro-industrial territory, with mid-track breakdowns and darker chord structures.
“The intention behind the album was to create the strongest, most diverse set of songs that we were capable of,” Shabtai said, “and I think the mix of anxiety, optimism, and occasional suspicion of terror helped us pull together something special.”
With Shades, Family Video has cemented its space as a single act in Charlotte’s music scene. While Shabtai started the band as a New York transplant with a handful of written tracks, we’re starting to see the band veer into the future. With a new EP already on the way, it probably won’t be long until the next chapter of Family Video rolls around.