Through Gold grant
July 30, 2021
Entering the Charlotte scene in 2018, Family Video came swinging for the fences. Josh Shabtai, the band’s lead singer and songwriter, made the trip from New York to North Carolina with a collection of songs that evolved into Family Video’s debut EP. future so dark. Produced by Danny Kalb (Beck, Ben Harper, Karen O), Shabtai and his team have positioned themselves as a promising local actor.
Family Video’s music is a calculated mix of pop-punk, synthwave and indie rock that’s as polished as it is loud. The band’s most recent single, “Hyperdrive,” displays this dichotomy en masse, bringing a clean, fuzzy synth rock that’s as choppy as its subject matter.
The track’s sprawling sonic elements juxtapose the despondent manner of Josh Shabtai’s lyricism, which finds the narrator lamenting an unsustainable and restless lifestyle. The subject matter is particularly prescient given that it was recorded in 2019, before everyone’s world came to a screeching halt with the outbreak of Covid-19.
“[In NYC], I was living the stereotypical multi-faceted life, playing video games, playing in a band, working as a creative in advertising,” Shabtai shares. “I was literally working 16 to 18 hour days five to six days a week…I literally destroyed relationships, my mental health and my physical well-being.”
It’s a feeling that many in our society can relate to, the eternal grind of the gig economy with an ever-increasing amount of work that encompasses your whole ethos if you never pump the breaks. “I can’t slow down,” Shabtai sings over slowly strummed guitar at the start of the song, only for the track to roll quickly into a driving rhythm of guitar breaths, synth flares and crisp percussion.
Compositionally, the song rides a rollercoaster of dynamics, pushing and pulling over big guitar-heavy crescendos and dancing synth breakdowns. As quickly as the aural aspects of the song change, so do Shabtai’s lyrics and tone. The song’s title alone carries a weight of fantastic whimsy, but from hook to hook we see Shabtai go from singing in an uplifting tone of “chasing super starlight” to being caught up in “super dark times.” “.
“‘Hyperdrive’ is about the cycle of going too fast, overdoing it, fearing what will happen if you stop,” Shabtai comments. “And love/hate every second.”
Despite the emotional depths “Hyperdrive” plunges into, the song always finds a way back to joyous heights; accomplish the difficult task of creating a fully fleshed out emotional journey in minutes. Shabtai’s shameless way of baring his soul makes the listener attached and downright joyous as he lets us know he’s “built a new foundation” and “worked on [his] heart every day.
“Hyperdrive” is a song with rich storytelling and deep emotional depth that digs deep and pays off in droves, showcasing a wealth of Family Video talent and potential.