Monday, June 16, 2008

Television - Marquee Moon - 1977

Marquee Moon is a revolutionary album, but it's a subtle, understated revolution. Without question, it is a guitar rock album — it's astonishing to hear the interplay between Tom Verlaine and Richard Lloyd — but it is a guitar rock album unlike any other. Where their predecessors in the New York punk scene, most notably the Velvet Underground, had fused blues structures with avant-garde flourishes, Television completely strip away any sense of swing or groove, even when they are playing standard three-chord changes. Marquee Moon is comprised entirely of tense garage rockers that spiral into heady intellectual territory, which is achieved through the group's long, interweaving instrumental sections, not through Verlaine's words. That alone made Marquee Moon a trailblazing album — it's impossible to imagine post-punk soundscapes without it. Of course, it wouldn't have had such an impact if Verlaine hadn't written an excellent set of songs that conveyed a fractured urban mythology unlike any of his contemporaries. From the nervy opener, "See No Evil," to the majestic title track, there is simply not a bad song on the entire record. And what has kept Marquee Moon fresh over the years is how Television flesh out Verlaine's poetry into sweeping sonic epics. -AMG

If you like "Marquee Moon" get it here!


Gyro1966 said...

Great record, i bought this when it first came out in 1977 - i was a young teenager, and my buddies were perplexed by this kind of music! Too bad that i was too young to see them live at that time.

Curty Ray said...

I know what you mean, while my friends were into either Zep or even disco I was turned onto this.

Anonymous said...

Great article on a great album. They definitely did strip away the blues sound - and provided influence for everyone from Talking Heads to Franz Ferdinand.

We wrote a little article about the title track. I have to say 'Friction' is a class tune too.

J Thyme...kind said...

A sleeper then & sleeping even harder now. So subtle & low-keyed considering the heavier sounds of the CBGB groups. A perfect session.

J Thyme...kind said...

Since I was living in New York at this time & involved in the downtown music scene & hanging out at CBGB's & Mudd Club, we were also going to discos too! One doesn't cancel the other!


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