Charlotte-based synth-rockers Family Video release new album ‘Shades’ with animated video

 By Grant Golden

June 6, 2022

Photo: Graham Morrison

For several years Charlotte’s Family Video has gradually developed their sleek synth-rock sounds, which recently culminated in their debut album Shades. Shades is a collection of pop-punk-style tunes that ride the line between dance-y and somber, and find vocalist Josh Shabtai exploring the depths of grief, nostalgia, love, loss and everything in between.

Alongside the album, the band has released a stop-motion video for “One & Every.” “One & Every” is an ‘80s-tinged ballad anchored on arpeggiated synth runs, muted drum hits, and a subdued vocal melody that ebbs and flows with every verse and chorus. Family Video partnered with Charlotte-based visual artist (and member of Yes Chef!) KC Marie Roberge for the video.

“KC’s video treatment revolves around a character embarking on this epic quest to find their heart again,” Shabtai explained. “‘One and Every’ is a deeply personal track, a song about trying to figure out how to move forward after losing a loved one…she listened to the track, dug into the lyrics and came back with this epic, dreamlike journey you see in the video.”

Produced by Danny Kalb at White Star Sound (Ben Harper, Beck), “One and Every” is one of the more nuanced tracks on the record. Shades is primarily full of sharp synths interspersed with crunchy guitars and distorted vocals, but the juxtaposition between that standard and the approach of “One & Every” helps make it a standout from the album. Not only does Shabtai dig deep into feelings of loss and isolation, but he does so in a way that’s full of pomp and fanfare.

L to R: Josh Durst, Mitchell Franklin, Josh Shabtai, Benjamin Fortenberry, and Gabe Avant. Photo: Graham Morrison

“Everything on this record circles 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, feeding an insatiable (and probably misguided) feeling that the past was better.”

Shabtai and the rest of Family Video convey this theme through a blend of tracks that range from careening early-aughts Indie rock (“The Image”) to ‘80s synth rock (“Smoke & Mirrors”) to the downtempo ballads like “Angel of May.” But with tracks like “Animalized” we see things driven in a slightly more electro-industrial territory, with mid-track breakdowns and darker chord structures.

Physical USB cassette drive of new Family Video album, ‘Shades.’

“The intent behind the album was to craft the strongest and most diverse batch of songs we were capable of,” Shabtai said, ‘and I think the blend of anxiousness, optimism and occasional hints of dread helped us pull something special together.”

With Shades, Family Video has solidified their space as a unique act in the Charlotte music scene. While Shabtai started the group as a New York transplant with a handful of written tracks, we’re beginning to see the band veer towards the future. With a new EP already under way, it likely won’t be too long before the next chapter of Family Video unfolds.

Listen to the new album Shades by Family Video, and catch them at Petra’s on Friday, June 10 with The Wormholes and Pinkerton Raid.

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