For those unfamiliar with the Television Personalities, the band’s naïve, amateurish, DIY approach was influenced by punk rock’s attitude that anyone could make records. They shunned professionalism and leather trousers for fanzines and anoraks. Thanks to people like Alan McGee championing them as one of the most truly independent bands of the UK music scene in the last 30 years. The Creation’s founder idolised the band’s Dan Treacy and claimed in a Guardian article in 2008 ‘that the shambolic genius behind the Television Personalities made me realise I could run a label. Yet this great songwriter hasn’t been fully recognised for his contribution to music.’ Their indie credentials had Kurt Cobain traipse across London to beg them to play a show in 1991 at the Astoria.
The Television Personalities have a new album out on Rocket Girl called A Memory is Better Than Nothing (rgirl66). It’s great to have them back. In fact it’s great, after his personal travails to have Dan at all. The stand out track is You’re My Yoko. With its frighteningly honest lyric 'All the places I have been. All the places I have seen. Well, that's me. That's Daniel. I've been mad and I've been bad. I've been glad and I've been had. Well, that's me; that's Daniel.’ All Things Are You, You Freed My Spirit and The Girl In The Hand Me Down Clothes prove that for TVP fans this is a return to form. The current line up, Texas Bob Juarez (guitars) Mike Stone (bass guitar, keyboards) and Arnau Obiols (drums) should be applauded for steadying the ship.
The TVP’s are definitely one for the indie purist and fans will recognise the familiar darker side that may suggest Treacy’s physical and mental well being may not be at its best. You only hope that A Memory is Better Than Nothing brings Dan Treacy a deserved period of solace and contentment.
Review by Charlie Brown