Saturday, February 2, 2013

128. Marquee Moon. Turn on the TV

Album: Marquee Moon
Artist: Television
Genre: Rock
Year: 1977


1. See No Evil
2. Venus
3. Friction
4. Marquee Moon
5. Elevation
6. Guiding Light
7. Prove It
8. Torn Curtain

In 1977 it must have felt that everything rock could do had already been done. The blues had already been mined for inspiration, genres had already been effectively mashed up and every riff anyone could have created had been attempted. All the exotic instruments anyone could find had been thrown into the mix after the Beatles started hurling around sitars and every tempo a drummer could physically perform in had been trotted out in order to prove that rock could survive outside a 4/4 time signature  It must have been tempting to think rock had done its dash and its time had passed.

The late seventies must have been a daunting time to get involved in music but Television strode onto the music scene with a silly name and an album's worth of music. They decided that rather than work in a genre they would try and create a new one. People have called their music post-punk, art-punk and a host of other names besides. Personally I can't come up with any particular title but I'd say the defining characteristics of their sound is punk+practice.

True punk doesn't rehearse. Real genuine, Sex-Pistols punk is all about attitude over talent. It only needs three chords and one rhythm and it makes up for any shortfalls by adding a massive dose of anarchic attitude. Who needs soloing ability when you have disdain and you can show it on your face? Who needs to practice when you haven't learn anything new since the first gig you played?

Television took the anarchic attitude of Punk and its permanent sneer but added musical ability and practice. They clearly rehearsed their music and actually dedicated time to improving their technique. You can imagine the guitarist playing repetitive scales in his free time to make his fingering technique more fluid.   It's easy to picture them learning a new chord and adding it to the large number that was already in their repertoire. It's possible they can actually identify what key they're in.

Marquee Moon is an album that actually rocks and jams at the same time. It's talent without the affectation and attitude without the brazen disregard for musical form that punk normally needs to survive. Consequently it sits between two camps. It's not quite virtuoso rock for those who love Zeppelin and it's not nearly punk enough for anyone who thinks the Sex Pistols are the best band in the land. It's a new genre which nobody could name and nobody has done as well since.

Highlight: The title track
Lowlight: Venus

Influenced by: Punk and a guitar teacher
Influenced: Post Punk (whatever that is)

Favourite Amazon Customer Review Quote: "The addition of the bonus tracks takes away from the impact of this album. "

-So hit the stop button. Seriously I will never understand people who complain about bonus tracks.

So are you a fan of television or would you rather turn it off? Let me know below

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