"Warm and Cool"
Source: Alternative Press (April 1992)
by Dave Thompson
This is not a pretty record. This is an ugly record, and I don't know if we
should take that as a good sign or not. With the Television reunion now more
than idle rumor, it would be nice to think that here's one reformation which
won't sully the past, and that our memories of "Marquee Moon" will be
left intact. And having heard Warm and Cool, I certainly feel better
about it than I would have two years ago, still trying to come to terms with
But the doubts are still there, and if Warm and Cool re-establishes
parts of the old Television legendtheir beauty under pressure, their
refusal to crack under strain, it brings into question some others. We're not
talking about any old rent-an-ax guitarist here, you know, we're talking about a
man who reinvented the electrical guitar as a lethal weapon. And who kept on
reinventing it, even after Television shattered and he was out on his own.
Too much of Warm and Cool restates what he did in the past. Listen
carefully, and the ideas, if not the sounds, are not so much assault as
gratuitous battery, and one wonders, is Verlaine simply clearing the air before
the TV clicks on again? Or is this really a taste of what is to come?
Under normal circumstances, if my ears were not clogged by anticipation, I'd
say Warm and Cool just sounds tired, and wait for his next set in the
hope of redemption. But Verlaine, more than any other artist, can only truly be
appreciated in the context of his work. The occasional weakness of Adventure
became the earth-shattering strength of his solo debut; the angular strictures
of Cover became the comforting structure of Flash Light, and so
on. And remember, each of those albums sounded dodgy at first. This time
around, we may not know what Verlaine's going to do nextbut we do, at
least, know its name. Keep that in mind, and this isn't so bad.