8 February 2017

Television - Marquee Moon

On 8th February 1977, the American Rock band (the terms Post-Punk & Alternative Rock had not been coined back then) Television released their debut album 'Marquee Moon' upon the world.  A hit in the UK where it reached 28 in the top 40 albums, but not a hit in America at the time, this album has been quoted as one of the greatest influences on Alternative music since its release and has shaped the playing styles of people such as John Frusciante (Red Hot Chili Peppers), The Edge (U2), Will Sergeant (Echo & The Bunnymen) amongst others.  Reviewing this seems a little bit redundant after all the praise that has been given already, but I have ended wanting to review it as it has been cropping up in conversations, mentioned by friends and people who want to know my take on the record (it is nice to be asked for my opinion at times).  Well, let’s see if time has been kind to this record.

01 - See No Evil

The first thing you notice about the album is the interplay between the two guitarists who seems to be playing two separate tunes that interweave, drawing influence from 1960's jazz fusion and counter melodies which loop around the song in a perfect dance which has been copied throughout the years since it first leaps out of the speakers.  It has a hard edge to the tune; the vocals are timeless and it sounds so beautiful.  There is a definite possibility that this review will become a love letter, you might have to bear with me.

02 - Venus

A song about being on drugs on the streets on New York City, walking around with a friend and the effects of the drugs on the person.  The song has been hailed as one of the best songs ever wrote, this song sounds like it is a love song to New York itself and the feeling might have been mutual at the time.  The notes from the guitars drop like rain, the hook in the chorus is a heart breaker and I can guarantee that this song will brighten anyone’s day just for turning up on the radio/shuffle/having a friend play it to you.

03 - Fiction

'Fiction' has a harder, more focus classic rock sound to it, one which I can see in the work of Royal Blood and their debut album.  The riff is hard and progressive, the vocals sounds bitten instead of caressed and love, it feels like there is an itch and it matches the title perfectly.  Once again, it a prototype, an origin of sounds that have become so familiar all of these years later; I am still bowled over as to how good it still sounds!

04 - Marquee Moon

The title track is an epic ten minutes and forty seconds (the original version of the album was edited down to a more consumer friendly nine minutes and fifty eight seconds), this was one of two songs with 'Prove It' that were released as singles for this album.  Recorded in one take.... drink that in. The longest song on the album, recorded in one take with no overdubs or additions was recorded in one smegging take!  It is a classic in every sense of the word and has some of the best solo action outside of Jimmy Page and Frank Zappa for these ears - don't take my word on this song for gospel, go and find out how good this song is yourself!

05 - Elevation

You might think it is all downhill after the mountain that is 'Marquee Moon', but no that is not the case with this debut album.  With 'Elevation', the love affair with New York and the river is brought back to the forefront of the album, the guitar sound is towering as the chorus kicks in and the words start their uplifting spiral towards heaven and everything just sound majestic.  The lyrics feel darker in places and it has a trouble at the centre of its soul, but the sound of the song is beautiful.

06 - Guiding Light

This was one of the songs that the band wrote in the studio whilst recording the album, this song is an ode to the night, the cold and the world where light is short coming.  It is a good song, but on an album of classic songs, it is sadly the one which does not contain as much impact as the other songs.  However, it is still a very good song and it will shine whenever it is played.

07 - Prove It

As mentioned before, this song was also released as a single from this album; it has a Spanish flair to the guitar playing in places and the lyrics are really open to interpretation and opening ended.  I love the way everything works on this song.  It is not the loudest on the album, but it is one that makes the hairs on your neck stand on end when the solo kicks in and it sounds fantastic.

08 - Torn Curtain

The album ends with another song that was created in the studio, ending the album on a theatrical sound that shows the band were starting to flex their muscles and were setting down their own identity on rock music which was taken by others and made famous.  It ends the album on a triumphant display of talent that I am sort of not surprised the band only released a further two studio albums.

Timeless, classic, words that have been thrown towards this album before and words that are truly deserved for this album.  It has aged incredibly well; some would say it has a Dorian Grey quality about it, I can see its place perfectly and its influence is clear throughout the subsequent years from its release.  I have made this review short as it does not need the extra praise, but it is such a great album.  Eight tracks, forty-five minutes long and it is beyond reproach; I am making this one quick as I do not want to labour the point - if you have this album, listen to it again.  If you do not have this album, purchase it now.

10 out of ten - This is proof there is a God

Top track - Marquee Moon

You can purchase Marquee Moon on Amazon here.

You can follow the activities of Television on Facebook here.

You can stream Marquee Moon on Spotify here.

You can stream Marquee Moon on Deezer here.

You can stream Marquee Moon on Tidal here.

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