TV Smiths sweet sixteenth album is finally available on physical formats having been downloadable since last November.
The album was written recorded and made by TV Smith at home in his own studio as he recovered from Catching Covid just as his tour opening for Stiff Little Fingers was being cancelled after just three shows. At the start of 2020 TV Smith was looking forward to touring and playing stadium gigs with Die Toten Hosen and returning to Rebellion where I was expecting to see him play. Pretty much a normal year and then Covid happened.
The Cover photo was taken backstage at the last second of the three gigs he played opening for Stiff Little Fingers in 2020 at Bristol by Martin Thompson who brought an old Pinhole camera to the gig and asked for a pic. As TV Smith says in the liner notes for the album it's the last picture taken of him before everything went wrong.
The album opens with The Lucky Ones a bitter and angry acoustic folk punk song about finding out you've been infected with Covid and managed to survive it, with the tale of how they got sneezed over in a service station and that's all it took to derail TV Smith as the world shut down around him and the rest of us.
Bounce Back is the first song I've heard named after a government loan, as TV Smith sings about how you'll bounce back from this terrible nightmare we are living and dying through. This is passionate and heartfelt in his hopes we can all bounce back to our normal existence once more.
Artificial Flowers is about how life has changed and the best you could hope for is to be in a room with some Artificial Flowers instead of being our normal self-centred selves as we look forward to having driverless cars.
Fake News is a song that has grown on me very quickly indeed and do I really need to say what it's about as TV Smith imagines the fake news he would make up if he was in charge and filtering everything through Gary Gilmores Eyes and any Bored Teenagers he can get hold of to help.
Lockdown Holiday is bitter and angry at how everyone's livelihoods have been disappeared and how we are all at home staring at the four walls and how do you survive that as the economy collapses and we are waiting for the new dawn to emerge as we figure out who pays for us to get out of this nightmare.
Send In The Clown is a heartfelt message to Bozo and his chumocracy and some of the ways in which they have failed the rest of us, while trying to make a virtue of having bad hair and lying all the time, while breaking the very rules he insists the rest of us follow. This is yet another essential song about the wrong sort of blond ambition.
The Race For Last Place continues to skewer Bozo and his troupe as they race to make sure we are last to lockdown and first in the table for deaths while telling us all to look the other way as everything goes to hell.
Join The Mainstream is obviously the opposite of the normal advice old punks like TV Smith would give and this is about trying not to be part of that Mainstream and keep hold of your soul as it becomes ever harder to stay out of that stream.
Lets Go Back To The Good Old Days has always been a theme in certain punk records, only this time TV Smith means going back to be able to go to gigs and pubs and restaurants and travel and well enjoy life, this still has plenty of bitterness about what was bad about those good old days, while hoping we can emerge and find a better way forward without going back to living incaves while binging on boxsets.
I Surf The Second Wave is a bit gentler than the rest of the album as he worries and frets about the coming second wave and how much worse it will be after we have all helped out by eating out and done all the other stuff as the inevitable happens and we all get locked down again and writing this in the eye of the hurricane of that second lockdown I have to say this hits the nail on the head like the rest of the album does.
The album closes with Going Nowhere Fast a sentiment that feels about right for most of us now that we are stuck at home with the lockdown blues again, as we all dream of being able to go and do all the stuff we used to take for granted we'd always be able to do. I hope at some point I'll be able to hear TV Smith sing this and most of the album live at rebellion or well any decent venue will do.
Find out more at https://easyaction.co.uk/index.php?route=product/product&product_id=749&search=tv+smith https://www.facebook.com/TVSmith77 http://www.tvsmith.com