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French TV - French TV CD (album) cover


French TV



3.51 | 34 ratings

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siLLy puPPy
4 stars My recent love affair with "The Violence Of Amateurs" has inspired me to check out more FRENCH TV so I went straight to their website and ordered a bunch of their discography and am listening to them chronologically to see how they evolved their eclectic sounds over the decades. This eponymous debut album came out way back in 1984. It's obviously from listening to this album that they were in prog heaven when not only anyone else out there sounded like this but the prog bands of the 70s were going top 40 or at the very least were making progressive pop. Sure Marillion was reviving progressive music in the form of neo-prog but nobody I know of was doing avant-prog like FRENCH TV.

This debut album isn't nearly as sophisticated and developed as their later material but even at this early stage they have a basic groove going on that clearly sounds like FRENCH TV. There is that military march type sound that they use as well as a jazzy funk bass sound and lots of odd time signatures and plenty of time dedicated to letting a groove breathe. A lot of this album has already developed a template of what gives FRENCH TV their musical scaffolding but what really sets this album apart from later works is how experimental some of the tracks are. They gleefully play around with polyrhythms setting one instrument against the other and creating some seriously demented sounding music as a result. On this first release there is as much influence from Captain Beefheart as there is from Van De Graaf Generator or Zappa. There is also truly spaced out parts that remind of Gong, Pink Floyd or even Hawkwind.

Instrumentally this is a simpler affair with only guitars, bass, piano, trumpet, vibes, drums, sax and cello! All those extras wouldn't be for a while. I am quite pleasantly surprised that I like this as much as I do. You never know what to expect when you dive into an artist's discography after only hearing one killer album that came out 15 years later. In this case I find this a worthy listen indeed and am sallying forth on the FRENCH TV highway to explore the road that began at the time when A Flock Of Seagulls, Culture Club and Van Halen ruled the world! 3.5 stars rounded up.

siLLy puPPy | 4/5 |


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