Sunday, 5 March 2017
TV EYE - 1977-1978 (*ARTICLE/REVIEW*)
A couple of weeks back I got a surprise package through my letter box. It contained a CDR and some photocopied info on a band called TV Eye. My instant reaction....WOW! and.... YES! Why you may ask well let me tell ya.....Birmingham legends TV Eye first came to my ears back in 1984 on the rather brilliant first What A Nice Way To Turn Seventeen compilation album with the track Stevies Radio Station which is a piece of swooning pop'n'roll since then I've wanted to hear more from 'em. Now thanks to those good people at Seventeen records and Stephen Duffy for preserving the recordings I can, and so can you. 1977-1978 is a collection of lost studio and rehearsal recordings by TV Eye.
“2017 is going to see many bands celebrating the 40th anniversary of their 1977 debut records. There won't be nearly so many from 1977 making their debut 40 years later in 2017. Here is one which is, TV Eye” - Seventeen Records Press Release.
So after waiting 33 years to hear more TV Eye, what do I think? Well....once again let me tell ya....
Opening track Repartee is a short sharp and sweet blast of Power pop Punk. It's followed by the beautiful and brilliant uplifting pure pop of Stevies Radio Station which in turn is swiftly followed by the strutting and swaggering Citizen Then we have the angsty and angular, taunt, tense and narcissistic proto post-punk Let Me Win, more Voidoids than Heartbreakers. The last of the studio recordings is the intense and grandiose Dreaming of Your Cars. The fact that none of these songs saw the light of day at the time is a rock'n'roll crime. The rehearsal tracks (Roses, When You're Gone, Cry, Cry To You and Kites are more unearthed gems, Rock'n'Roll relics that still sparkle and shine through their rough'n'ready no-fi state, they sound in places like something the Cuddly Toys would come out with a couple of years later.
TV Eye sound like The Stooges meet the Stones with a slice of Sparks added to the whole Rock'n'Roll Molotov cocktail mix. Switch-blades swish and slash as the alley cats screech, even at their most sensitive these songs scream with a spikey fuck you attitude and abandon. Dave Kusworths razor sharp guitar riffs'n'licks duel with the rhythmic chops of Paul Adams guitar, while the simple and solid rhythm section of Dave Twist's Drum's and Eamon Duffy's Bass hold it all together and Vocalist Andy Wickets wired and wild whelps, whoops wails and woo woos, add some theatrics to the whole show, which unfortunately was a rather short one.
The demise of TV Eye came shortly after Duffy and Twist joined up to help out The Prefects, Duffy opted to stay, but Dave Twist returned to TV Eye, who stumbled on but eventually fell apart by the middle of 1979 and the rest is, as they say.... history; The Subterranean Hawks, The Rag Dolls, The Jacobites, and Duran Duran....Friends'n'fans of the band Nick Rhodes and John Taylor, soon to be a future member of Duran Duran used to visit the band at their Cheapside rehearsal space and had been taking notes; Stevies Radio Station later evolved into Rio, and there is speculation that many other TV Eye ideas were taken by Duran Duran, once again the rest is history and what could have beens, but never weres but without these there might never have been The Bounty Hunters, The Tenderhooks or The Black Bombers.
TV Eye were new romantic glam punksters; ahead of their time. 1977-1978 is a timeless collection of Rock'n'Roll and it's time is now! Available from 24th March as a very limited red vinyl pressing of 300 copies on Seventeen Records, you also get a four page photo insert and essay by Dave Twist. A CD release with a couple of extra tracks will follow. What ever the format this album must be heard at all costs, it's a newly discovered masterpiece to shake the wall not to hang on the wall. Lovingly presented and packaged by people that care. This album is indeed a thing of beauty a work of art, and a must have for anyone with a luv of Rock'n'Roll at it's most primal and feral.
For more details hit the TV Eye 1977-1978 Facebook Page.
Acknowledgement to Nikki Suddens book The Last Bandit for background info to this piece.