Source: Select (October 1992)

by Andrew Perry

How easy it would be to lead you astray and rave uncontrollably about Television's third LP. It's not exactly bang on the heels of the last (14 years is no minor interim); still, much of the job in this arrogantly self-titled comeback comes just from the thought that you're hearing that legendary line-up—perhaps for the first time while they're concurrently active as a band.

Last time out, Verlaine, Lloyd, Smith and Ficca defined the sound of late-'70s New York, revealing new horizons for what a four-piece rock act could do, as each member battled sonically but, in the manner of a cooking improv jazz quartet, somehow held it all together. Since they parted, their two LPs have become by-words for the heights of alchemical power that rock music can achieve.

So, every reason to celebrate their return, especially after the first reunion gig at Glastonbury had them soaring through flashes of sonic enlightenent, blowing your head apart even during the only dodgy weather of the weekend. The LP was in the can well before, mind—and here's the rub: The tunes could've done with some road-testing.

From the opening '1880 Or So' onwards, the guitars (and let's face it, that's what we're after) flicker without ever really coming ablaze. Each track seems shackled to Tom's often giggly lyrics rather than screaming off on melodic cross-currents. There's fire on 'In World', 'The Rocket' and in the exhilirating final stages of 'Call Mr Lee'. Surely there was more of it at Glasto, though.

You should own 'Marquee Moon', 'Adventure' and the fearsome 'Blow Up' live tape. You should consider yourself a criminal if you don't see them on the promised UK tour. As for 'Television', it's cool listening; it would make a pretty good Tom Verlaine solo LP, with dreamy, shuffling songs like 'This Tune' and 'No Glamour for Willi'. But it's not the Television we know and worship.