Full title: They Could Have Been Bigger Than The Beatles.
Television Personalities: Daniel Treacy, Mark Sheppard, Edward Ball, Bernie The Bass.
Recorded at Starforce Studios, Battersea, London, England between 1979 and 1982.
Led by the charmingly adenoidal Daniel Treacy, whose disregard for the niceties of production and arrangement doesn't hide his deceptively brilliant lyrical and melodic abilities, the Television Personalities first burst on to a moribund U.K. punk rock scene in the late 1970s, when they released such classic indie singles as the biting "Part Time Punks" (under the pseudonym The O-Levels), and "Where's Bill Grundy Now?"
This early-'80s collection of demos, outtakes, and other rarities is a delightfully anarchic mess of punk rock, budget psychedelia, and even the odd cover version, in this case the Creation's 1960s classic "Painter Man." The druggy "Psychedelic Holiday" is a pre-echo of the later Madchester scene's hazy experimentation, while "When Emily Cries" is a manifestation of the band's Syd Barrett obsession, complete with disaffected pop-art vocals and brain-scrambling guitar. The throwaway genius of this album is comparable to more hallowed eccentric works like Skip Spence's OAR or Barrett's THE MADCAP LAUGHS, though the Personalities' good-natured, na?ve goofiness avoids both those albums' darker intimations of madness.