Incredibly, this is only the Television Personalities
' tenth album in almost three decades -- the weight of singles, EPs, and compilation appearances makes it feel many more. It is also only their second since frontman Dan Treacy
relaunched the name in the early 2000s and, coming immediately after the disappointing My Dark Places
, it has a lot of work to do, if the band's old reputation is to be likewise reclaimed. It succeeds with room to spare, opening with a title track that will awaken hideous memories for anybody who has traveled long distance in a car full of children. "Sung" in Treacy
's most pipingly adolescent voice, it is a litany of complaints, impatience, and pointless observations...you can almost feel the tiny feet kicking out a discordant rhythm on the back of your chair. "The Peter Gabriel Song," too, is nothing short of brilliant, a sorrowful ode to its eponymous hero's ability to write a song for any sad situation you can name, set to precisely the kind of soundtrack you'd expect. Elsewhere, "The Eminem Song" cracks a similar joke equally effectively (and "Coltrane's Ghost" reiterates it once more, but this time, instrumentally). And so the album marches on, alternately light-hearted and lachrymose, hysterics and hubris colliding together over minimal backings and tightly wrought lyricism. In other words, it is everything one could hope to find in such surroundings and, right now, it sounds like their best disc in years.