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This totally worthwhile 2CD archival release recorded in 1978 shows just what possessed demons Television were live.

The band could play all their studio songs just like on the albums (or album, since only two songs from Adventure are included, "Foxhole" and "Ain't That Nothin'") except, if anything, better.

They rip off entirely new solos on a lot of things, totally master the audience, prove that they're as in control of silly rock songs like "I Don't Care" as the apocalyptic epic "Marquee Moon".

They do some covers too, one of them being the 13th Floor Elevators "Fire Engine", for some reason retitled "The Blow-Up", which rocks, "Knockin' On Heaven's Door", and the first ever paranoid version of "Satisfaction".

The only thing holding the album back is that it was originally a cassette-only release and sounds like crap. It was recorded on a two track with the help of record critic Robert Christgau (probably helping by letting the recorder sit on his table and not spilling his drink on it), so it sounds like the bootleg it was intended to be ... muffly, sometimes out-of-tune, sometimes inaudible.

It's not the worst album I've ever heard released legitimately, but it is trying at times. Still, it's the only way to hear this seminal band playing live.

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by Reviewer: Capt Bonanza

Posted: Sunday 10th Dec 2017 9:40 AM
Recent album review
Have the punk rockers who took acid been listening to 1970's MOR singer/songwriters? Possibly, possibly not. They may have been listening to REM.

It seems The Flaming Lips have forgotten how to bang gongs, have fun, and not take themselves too seriously, for there's a third of a potentially great cohesive album here, plus a third of a pop album where the band try and fail to sell records to Madonna fans, and a third where the material is markedly weaker than Flaming Lips material of the recent past.

At War is a strange album and no mistake. It's interesting, it's very human, and weary sounding. The first two songs scream out at me - they taunt and mock me - "Yeah Yeah Yeah Song" is deliberately dumb and irritating, to the point of annoyance. Yet, it has an irresistible melody. And "Free Radicals" is another irritant, a song that sounds all the world like it was orginally recorded by Scissor Sisters, where the band have scrawled with colourful crayons all over the top of a pop song.

The album is a little front-loaded, although discerning fans will look a little deeper, beyond the playful mocking versions of pop music that it offers. What follows those two openers reinforces that. "The Sound of Failure" sounds like the product of different sessions, a different decade even - there's a whiff of 70's MOR, yet it's topped with squelchy and futuristic noises. "My Cosmic Autumn Relation" includes bird sounds, with lyrics to match. They're both crucial cuts, wholly different animals to the two devious and playful openers.

One under-cooked acoustic/psych number followed by a rather dull instrumental with strange squeaky noises forms the midsection of the album. That's where I lose interest, although the ambitious three part "It Overtakes Me" wakes me up again, before letting me down gently into quiet solitude.

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by Reviewer: Adrian Denning

Posted: Monday 11th Dec 2017 10:48 AM
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