Saturday, October 1, 2005

Records In Review: Television--Adventure

Second album from Tom Verlaine and the gang. This isn't the remastered edition I'm listening to, but it doesn't sound bad at all.

Now, I'll admit that I have some problems with Television. Yes, they are One Of The Most Important Bands Of The Period and all that, but I don't particularly care for Verlaine's strangulated, affected singing or his somewhat cock-rocky interpretation of antique r-'n'-r motifs, and I often find a lot of their choruses disappoint relative to the build-up, which is curiously enough a criticism I have of another trendy NYC band. Having said that, I can't deny the allure of Marquee Moon, with its excellent guitar interplay, jumpy rhythm section and overall band dynamic.

Adventure is a kinder, gentler Television to be sure, but that's not necessarily a bad thing. In many ways, the material here, like "Glory" and the sprawling "The Dream's Dream," has aged better than some of the stuff on the first record, perhaps because it involves less of the aformentioned ye olde rock elements (I admit this may just be my particular prejudice) and is more firmly rooted in the new wave. The album is always going to suffer in comparison with its predecessor, though, because there is some recycling/reinterpretation of songs going on--for "Foxhole," "Carried Away" and "The Fire," read "Friction," "Guiding Light" and "Torn Curtain"--and the second time 'round is always less exciting, even if it's just as well executed (I find "Friction" and "Foxhole" equally unsatisfying, frankly). Be that as it may, the gentle stuff is really nice here, like "Days" with it's bright and lovely opening guitar lines, and the carefree and naive-sounding "Careful." The outtro guitar on "The Dream's Dream" is as good as anything on Marquee Moon, and with the melodrama better held in check.

Both of the band's original-run albums are worth the having. I imagine the remastered Adventure must sound pretty damn good, if the quality of the Marquee Moon re-release is anything to go by, although it too contains a bunch of bonus demo tracks that are probably of marginal value.