Fred Armisen and Bill Hader have become adept at creating sort-of-fake-sort-of-real bands, first with ’70s-style soft-rock group The Blue Jean Committee, and more recently with Test Pattern, an alternative group heavily inspired by The Talking Heads. Like The Blue Jean Committee before them, Test Pattern was the subject of a Documentary Now! faux-rockumentary episode, and they performed in character on Late Night with Seth Meyers.
Blue Jean Committee also released a legitimate EP, and now it’s Test Pattern’s turn to do that as well. Here’s the cover art for Final Transmission, which contains music from the episode of the same name:
It’s a goofy tribute to one of the best alternative bands from the ’70s, yes, but in spots, it’s actually kind of good. “Art + Student = Poor,” the most notable track from the release and the one the band performed on Late Night, nails the jangly guitar sound and vocal rhythms of its source material very well and is genuinely a decent, upbeat alternative rock song. Meanwhile, “Flashing Lights” and “I’m Alert To Sound” are a pair of frenetically paced tracks that, stripped of their parody context, have some really exciting musical moments.
More often than not, though, it’s the comedy that shines through. Half of “Everybody’s Moving Around” tries to explain itself as not having been made up on the spot, although it definitely seems like that’s the case, and the hook of the Tom Waits-like “IOU” features the lyric, “Meet me at the burnt down hair salon / Oh wait, that place burned down.”
Stream the EP for yourself below, and let us know which of the two Documentary Now! releases you prefer: Test Pattern or The Blue Jean Committee.
Featured image: NBC