Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Television Personalities - Mummy Your Not Watching Me (1981)

As a more inconsistent affair than its predecessor, I can't endorse this album as fully as 'And Don't the Kids Just Love It.' That's not to say that 'Mummy...' isn't recommendable, however, or that there aren't worthy songs present amidst the weaker tracks. In comparison to the largely ramshackle, barebones aesthetic of 'And Don't the Kids Just Love It,' however, I feel its neo-psychedelic textures often detract from, rather than benefit, the often great songs. This album also signals a shift in ambiance from its predecessor, towards a darker, more deranged mood, though I would be loathe to refer to 'And Don't the Kids...' as "twee," which this Allmusic.com reviewer insists on doing; while wistful at times, it was hardly free of gloominess. All in all, "If I Could Write Poetry" and "Painting By Numbers" are top-notch tracks, and if you even remotely enjoy the previous album, I don't see why you should pass this one up. - Ariel

The second full-length Television Personalities release (and the first product of Daniel Treacy's Whaam! label, later renamed Dreamworld after George Michael's manager offered them a pot of money to change the name) adds a full-time bass player to the original trio and sets the Wayback Machine ahead about 18 months from the debut's Swinging Carnaby Street sound. The darker, more psychedelic Mummy Your Not Watching Me is considerably less twee than And Don't the Kids Just Love It, covering Treacy's increasingly self-effacing lyrics in a wash of keyboards and phased guitars. There are a few songs that still show the influence of the earlier Television Personalities sound, including the wistful "Magnificent Dreams" and a remake of the single "Painting By Numbers," originally released under the name the Gifted Children, but the key track is the lengthy "David Hockney's Diaries," an acid rock drone that introduces an entirely different texture into the band's sound that Treacy would explore further on the next several albums. This is a transitional album that has tended to be shortchanged by both reviewers and fans, but there's much to recommend here.

[Stewart Mason, allmusic.com]



gomonkeygo said...

I think both TVP albums here are masterpieces, as well as the third album "They Could Have Been Bigger Than The Beatles." But for me "The Painted Word" is the finest album from the early years. It's a scathingly emotional album of diamond hacksaw beauty, whatever that means, but when I think about it I lose control of my mind and can't really put them words in them right places no more.

"Closer to God" comes close to achieving the same level of intensity but is more bouncy, more humorous, thankfully. Not sure I could survive two albums like that from the same band.

2006's "My Dark Places" takes us back to similar dark places with Treacy too. A few dud songs, but I've played this for folks what have never heard of TVP and they've been blown away by it.

BTW, you don't have any of the following do you: Top Gear, Don't Cry Baby..., Fashion Conscious or Paisley Shirts...? I haven't heard any of these latter albums.

Ariel said...

I've only recently listened to "The Painted Word," which I definitely plan on posting in the future, along with "Privilege" most likely. I think your description of "The Painted Word," "diamond hacksaw beauty" et al, is probably the best I've ever heard. It really is an all-consuming beast of a record, isn’t it? Completely engrossing. You could get lost in there, not that I’d recommend it.

I haven’t heard “Closer to God” or “My Dark Places” yet, though I plan on it soon, especially now with your endorsement. I also don’t have any of the later albums that you mention, but I’ll ask Gozz if he does. Thanks for stopping by!

Anonymous said...

Thank you for posting this album. I recently fell in love with TV Personalities hearing the single featuring "Part time punks". Then I discovered their first LP which, to me, is a fantastic album and the best of their carreer. Anyway, I must say that I prefer their "punk period" if that can be admited.
Thanks again!!

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X HuGo FiEnD X said...

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