Melody Maker 1982

Television Personalities
THEY COULD HAVE BEEN BIGGER THAN THE BEATLES
Whaam BIG 5
On his first LP, ". . . And Don't The Kids Just Love It", Dan Treacy sang one of the most moving songs I've ever heard. But the media and public alike chose to overlook the sweet, almost suicidal sadness of "Diary Of A Young Man" for the obvious and attractively twee "I Know Where Syd Barrett Lives" and the kitsch John Steed, Emma Peel cover.

On his second LP, tentatively titled "Mummy, You're Not Watching Me", Dan Tracey went mad in a way that I find as harrowing and exhilarating as any pop music I've ever experienced.

On his third LP, "They Could Have Been Bigger Than The Beatles", Dan Treacy's finally thrown in the towel . . . or, to be absolutely precise, he's packed the paisley back in mothballs. Confused, frustrated, maybe even defeated by the inability of the press to resist a snide broadside at anything remotely psychedelic, Dan has folded his TV Personalities and so "Beatles" is his final farewell to the genre he chose as his medium of communication.

And let's get (this) straight: Dan Treacy's psychedelics have always served as a canvas on which he splattered his neuroses and not as any naively idealistic attempt at revival.

Let's get (this) straight too: "Beatles" is over 50 minutes of outtakes which span his whole career, straddling both previous albums and staggering wide-eyed, witty and weighed down with worry, towards some indefinite future. It's nowhere near perfect - it doesn't purport to be - but its scope is incredible, its ambition outstanding and its heart damn near broken.

"Boy In The Paisley Shirt" is a Jilted John wink at the Groovy Cellarites - satire born of sympathy - "Three Wishes" ("If I had three wishes I'd wish for three more") is characteristic of Dan's ability to expose nerves while tickling your fancy, "King And Country" takes on McGuinn's solo from "Eight Miles High" and presents a strong case for the reinstatement of electric guitar as the expressive instrument and "Anxiety Block" sounds like Abba ill-coping with "Mother's Little Helper".

I should go on, but I can't so I'd better just tell you that on his last album, "They Could Have Been Bigger Than The Beatles", Dan Treacy sings a naked song called "Mysterious Ways" which floods me with adrenalin. Don't allow any preconceived bias to prevent you from listening. In other words: stop being stupid and get tuned in.

Steve Sutherland
* * *
Thanks to Mark Flunder for providing the source material.
Back to Press Page