‘Television’s People’ by Misty’s Big Adventure (Review)
It always seemed to be heading to this point. Yes, there was the energetic monster, the wonky ideas about time and space, and lots of dancing but underneath all that Misty’s Big Adventure have always been standing pointing towards a world going wrong. On ‘Television’s People,’ a concept album about a man and his television, the pressure of trying to make sense of it all seems to have finally got to Grandmaster Gareth. On what I make to be their sixth album Misty’s have made an album about paranoia, misery and staying indoors which you may like more or less depending on how paranoid and miserable you are and how much you like staying indoors.
The first time I listened to this album was, ironically enough, on the television in our room as we do not have a stereo. It seemed slightly more fitting that as I did so I was making the bed, fitting because this is an album which is essential listening for the modern hermit, an album that, unlike the band’s previous collections, does not jet off into parallel universes or even into town, but stays firmly put inside the home. Occasionally the brass section may take an excursion to the attic or Gareth may get his toys out of the garage but for the most part the album comes from the perspective of its protagonist who stays put in front of his telly, musing on lost love and why the Wombles aren’t real.
Despite Gareth’s downbeat lyrics the band remain surprisingly lively and playful, especially in the second half of the record on which our man falls deeper and deeper into his paranoia and, eventually, his tv. It perhaps lacks the hook of a big song such as ‘Serious Thing,’ which had become a firm favourite in the Misty’s live set before it became the centre piece to last year’s ‘Funny Times’ but this is a very different record and Misty’s seem to be a very different band now. The new songs which follow the template of some of the band’s earlier successes are perhaps the least successful part of ‘Television’s People,’ coming across as shadows of earlier hits.
Where it is a resounding success is on the tracks on which Misty’s bits-and-bobs-sold-on-tour albums Grumpy and Grumpier Fun seem to be the cornerstone. Here they play with more freedom, soundtracking the chaos of the protagonist’s brain as he tries to work out quite who is controlling his life and his tv. My favourite moment comes on ‘There Is Hope,’ on which a newsreader asks the protaganist questions about his life. At the end he summarises, “Then there is no hope.” It is barely audible but this is followed by the sound of Gareth mumbling, “there is hope,” only for the newsreader to state again, “There is no hope.”
There is hope.
– I bought Television’s People from Norman Records, which you can do too if you like.
– Rachel and I will be going to see Misty’s in Manchester on 22nd November with our friends Kerry, Grant and maybe Helen. You can see them too, there or at any of their other dates which you can find on their myspace page, where you can also hear some of the songs. Link across there –>