You Picked It!! – Television – ‘Marquee Moon’ – Album Review

Alright…You Picked It! And this one was really, really close. This was the most tightly contested one we have had so far and maybe even the most votes. Quickly, Duran Duran jumped out in first thanks to the Twitterverse, but the others caught up shortly thereafter. I had a 4 way tie for first up until the last few votes which pushed the winner ahead. There were only 3 points between first and last. The winner is Television and their album ‘Marquee Moon’ which was listed as a genre I rarely listen to which is because I thought they were Punk, but they didn’t sound like I thought they would so I was way wrong on that listing. They were more rock and garage rock to me and I should’ve been listening to them a long time ago. Here are the results.

  1. Television – ‘Marquee Moon’ – 7 votes
  2. Duran Duran – ‘Future Past’ – 6 votes
  3. Big Star – ‘#1 Record’ – 5 votes
  4. Dokken – ‘Tooth And Nail’ – 5 votes
  5. Stevie Ray Vaughan – ‘Soul to Soul’ – 4 Votes

Thanks to all for participating. The December choices will be up on Saturday!

TELEVISION – ‘MARQUEE MOON’

As I had said above, I thought these guys were punk and a lot of people say they are. However, punk to me is really short songs with guys (or gals) that can’t really play all that great and just make a lot of noise quickly and haphazardly. This isn’t it at all. The songs on here are well constructed, thought out tracks that can go as long as 10 minutes. This doesn’t have the urgency of punk. This to me is more garage rock and straight up rock with lots of great guitars. This was not what I expected.

The band was from lower Manhattan and were mainstays at the famous club CBGB. They consisted of Tom Verlaine on guitar and lead vocals, Richard Lloyd on guitar, Fred Smith on bass and Billy Fica on drums. Their sound was very 60’s sounding with these dual guitar parts. They weren’t as manic as say punk as they had more melodies, had more depth and a lot more layers than you originally think. When I listened to the album, I realized the songs still sound relevant and fresh and had a timeless quality to them. You can’t say that about a lot of bands.

“See No Evil” opens with a great riff and you instantly are engrossed by the guitars. Tom’s vocals do have a punk edge, but the difference is he can sing. It has a grit to it that draws you in while Richard lays down a sweet solo with Tom doing the rhythm guitar on this one. Both Fred and Billy give the song a great groove driving the song forward. It is a catchy pop sounding song and really great way to open the album. “Venus” has a new wave vibe to it, but thankfully with no overblown keyboards. They almost sound a little like The Cars. I really like Billy’s drumming on this one as he has a nice feel and some great fills. This time the solo is handled by Tom which is cool to see them trading solos.

Next up is “Friction” which sounds like a psychedelic dream with that guitar sound. Tom sings with attitude and a little anger which gives the song some meat. The guitar and drums on this one are amazing and Tom’s solo is unique and edgy. Might be one of my favorite tracks. A showcase for sure. Then we go from 3 short songs to an epic 10 minute song to end the first half of the album. The title track, “Marquee Moon”, gives us a double guitar solo and man, who doesn’t love two guitar solos. The amazing thing about this song is I learned that it was recorded in one take. A 10 minute song…1 take!! Damn! Impressive. And the song is that, impressive. The song is funky, soulful and rocks out. It is an immersive track that is bombastic while not being over the top. For such a long song, it keeps you engrossed and the time flies as you are listening to four guys that no how to play. You get lost in the guitars, the rhythmic bass and those sweet drum fills. It is everything you want in a song.

The second half of the album starts with “Elevation” and it does reach new heights. The song sounds thoughtful in tone and yet a little somber as if they are pondering the world’s problems. Richard Lloyds solo fits that same vibe and everyone plays beautifully to fit the song not their own talents. “Guiding Light” drips in sadness with the hypnotic guitar and that weary sounding bass line. The solo’s guitar sound is atmospheric and soaring as it feels airy and weightless.

The next track is “Prove It” with its beach rock sounding guitar and killer bass that turns in to a mid-tempo jaunt. The song feels rich in tone and crashes over you like a wave of sunshine. I haven’t said much about Tom’s vocals, but he is quite mesmerizing. The Final track is “Torn Curtain” opens with a great drum solo or sorts and then into an almost Gothic vibe with the guitars. It is both compelling and scary in how it comes across. The piano is haunting and the band is playing with a sense of forlorn. They are drenched and drowning in despair and yet it comes across as magical and brilliance.

As I said before, this is not what I expected. They aren’t punk. I read they are the blueprint to Alternative music, and you know, I think that is exactly what they are. They were Alternative before there was such a thing. They playing was far above their counterparts at the time. They were more artistic, more compelling and more of everything. When you listen you are a-washed in something special. You are taking on a musical journey that you never want to end. You become transfixed by their talent and things will never be the same afterwards. This was an enjoyable journey that took me numerous listens to get on board but once I got there, I was sucked in and didn’t want it to end. My Overall Score is a 5.0 out of 5.0 Stars and this was something to behold.

62 thoughts on “You Picked It!! – Television – ‘Marquee Moon’ – Album Review

  1. I voted for this not thinking for an instant it would win. I’ve picked the winner several times to my surprise. Glad you like Television, and congrats on getting over 1,000 followers. Here’s a virtual salute and toast.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I don’t know this band. Time to scour the used cd store. Congrats on the followers, and one lurker (me!). I appreciate the support for my CD habit lol.

    Looking at Itunes, there is a three album collection of theirs available. It has Marquee Moon, Adventure and a live set. That sounds like a nice find on vinyl or CD.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I (sort of) reviewed this several years back. Actually, I reblogged another blogger’s post, a guy who seems to have since disappeared from the scene. (I’ve been at this for 6 years and I’ve seen them come and go.). Good album. Interestingly, I was watching the documentary called ‘Roadrunner’ about Anthony Bourdain. Big Ramones fan but I don’t think they mentioned that in the flick. But at one point they used a little bit of “Marquee Moon” in the background. If anybody was a punk chef it was Bourdain.

    Liked by 2 people

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