“The Image Has Cracked” by Alternative TV - album review

features in: Album Chart of 1978Album Chart of the Decade: 1970s

TJR says

4 live tracks (recorded at the 100 Club in London on 7 February 1978) and 5 in the studio make up the strange but compelling debut from ATV, the band famously co-founded by the non-musical Sniffin’ Glue fanzine editor, Mark Perry. By the time of this debut LP, co-founder Alex Fergusson was out of the band. Perry forged ahead regardless, clear in his messy vision. The ten-minute live opener is a strange one. Over a laid-back repetitive bass and drum rhythm, audience members are invited up on to the soap-box / stage to impart words of wisdom over the mic, but it generally descends into a non-cohesive rabble, with squabbling amongst the throng. A disgruntled Mark Perry takes over the mic to vent his frustration with them: “I love you people but I hate you when you act like idiots, coz that’s when they GRIND YOU DOWN” I’m not sure we needed ten minutes to get that message out, but it’s kind-of interesting as a fly-on-the-wall sort-of-way, a warts n all taste of the “scene”. Much better is the big statement of intent single “Action Time Vision” which is, shock-horror, a well-produced highly polished slice of Pop Punk. Better again is the Frank Zappa cover “Why Don’t You Do Me Right” which swings like Iggy Pop’s “Passenger”.

Live tracks very rarely go down well with me on record, but “Still-Life” manages to overcome my prejudiced ways, with a wonderfully abrasive-groove which would be all the rage in ’79 for Adam & The Ants and Joy Division. Amazingly, a boogie-woogie piano is the next thing to be heard, albeit dissipating quickly to reveal the Punkish majesty of “Viva La Rock N’ Roll” which offers a big-up to New York’s New Wave whilst lamenting Jim Morrison’s demise in Paris. By the end of this captivating homage, the piano has reverted back a couple of centuries to classical roots. Expect the unexpected. Talking of which, “Nasty Little Lonely” serves as a great reminder of how well Black Sabbath used to sound, with their sludgy, riff-heavy ways. There’s more to Punk than the Cretin Hop is the moral of this story. Got to hand it to Mnsr. Perry, from DIY fanzine editor to DIY music-maker, he had some balls. Bloody good job Perry.

The Jukebox Rebel

A1 [09:43] 6.2.png Alternative TV - Alternatives [live ’78] (Mark Perry, Alex Fergusson) Post-Punk
A2 [02:32] 7.5.png Alternative TV - Action Time Vision (Mark Perry, Alex Fergusson) Punk
A3 [03:12] 7.9.png Alternative TV - Why Don’t You Do Me Right? (Frank Zappa) Punk
A4 [02:33] 5.5.png Alternative TV - Good Times [live ’78] (Mark Perry, Chris Bennett, Dennis Burns, Tyrone Thomas) Punk
A5 [05:21] 8.6.png Alternative TV - Still-Life [live ’78] (Mark Perry, Alex Fergusson) Post-Punk
B1 [04:19] 9.1.png Alternative TV - Viva La Rock N’ Roll (Mark Perry, Chris Bennett, Dennis Burns) Post-Punk
B2 [06:21] 7.6.png Alternative TV - Nasty Little Lonely (Mark Perry, Chris Bennett, Dennis Burns) Post-Punk
B3 [02:03] 5.0.png Alternative TV - Red (Mark Perry) Post-Punk
B4 [05:12] 7.6.png Alternative TV - Splitting In 2 [live ’78] (Mark Perry) Post-Punk

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