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French TV - I Forgive You For All My Unhappiness CD (album) cover

I FORGIVE YOU FOR ALL MY UNHAPPINESS

French TV

 

RIO/Avant-Prog

3.93 | 21 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Cesar Inca
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Calling on the collective conscience of the worldwide prog community - it's high time we paid attention to the great music that has been and continues to be written and recorded in the avant areas of the USA!! In this particular occasion I am referring to the latest release by French TV, the combo led and maintained by bassist Mike Sary. For this 2010 offering "I Forgive You For All My Unhappiness", Sary has teamed up with drummer Jeff Gard and keyboardist/saxophonist Steve Katsikas, plus collaborations from others (especially guitarist Shawn Persinger, who also happens to be his colleague in The Distinguished Panel Of Experts). "I Forgive You For All My Happiness" is a catalogue of real reinvigorating musical experiences ruled by the laws of surprise and challenge - something that is so typically FTV. The opener starts with a sarcastic 1-2-3-4, which serves the listener with an agile, warmth main body, in many ways related to National Health and 70s Bruford (you can tell that Master Bill is a big paradigm for Gard's own drumming style). This track also includes some dissonant adventures that seem pretty coincidental with Miriodor and other similar contemporary RIO acts. 'Conversational Paradigms' receives and re-elaborates a big part of the opener's extroverted vibe, developing a bigger dose of melodic extravagance while retaining a similarly warmth mood. You can reasonably suspect at this point that this album is not going to be as dark as "This Is What We Do" or as overtly genius as "The Violence Of Amateurs" (FTV's ultimate masterpiece so far, to my ears at least), but it is not mandatory for an experimental progressive album to be dark or magnificent in order to have great quality. FTV still rules big time and can trace musical roads of uneasiness and tension at any given time: 'March Of The Cookie Cutters' is solid proof of that. This is piece # 3 and now the band feels it's time to explore the avant-garde nuances further with an iron will and coherent finesse. The bold series of dissonant developments and twisted dynamics is totally Zappaesque. Near the end, a slow passage develops a mysterious aura that is somewhat close to Francophone RIO (Univers Zero, so to speak), really creepy, but right before the moment of deadly implosion, things dramatically shift toward vivacious colors of funny artsy extroversion. 'You Got To Run It Out, Dawson!' starts with another sarcastic 1-2-3-4: more room for sonic surprises, no surprises here. This track's particular feature is the presence of hard rocking nuances in the guitar parts and the rhythm duo's dynamics; there are also some trends inspired by However and Happy The Man (two bands that I have always felt as crucial references for FTV's sound). 'With Grim Determination, Terrell Dons the Bow Tie' is the calmest and least ornamented piece in the album, but never getting at a condescending level. It includes a beautiful synth solo starting around the 1 ½ minute mark (Jan Hammer-style, perhaps). For the last 90 seconds, the track shifts toward grayish atmospheres that outline a chamber-rock element in a powerful, yet delicate fashion: the resulting density serves then as a psychedelic catharsis built with total finesse. That is where the playful 'Mosquito Massacre' settles in for the album's closure; witty, agile and capricious, it almost sounds as the soundtrack to a climatic scene in a surrealistic satiric movie. Even the rough guitar parts and spacey synth ornaments bring themselves fluidly into the overall mood, while the drummer works successfully at gluing the whole sounds together within a proper framework. "I Forgive You For All My Unhappiness", in a general balance, means the reaffirmation of French TV as a relevant voice of contemporary USA's progressive rock. It's high time the worldwide prog community paid due attention to them - haven't I said this before?
Cesar Inca | 4/5 |

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