[Album Review] "How to Make Friends and Influence People" – Terrorvision

How to Make Friends and Influence People - TerrorvisionAlbum Title: How to Make Friends and Influence People
Artist: Terrorvision
Year: 1994
Running Time: 54m 55s

Track listing: 1 Alice What’s the Matter; 2 Oblivion; 3 Stop the Bus; 4 Discotheque Wreck; 5 Middleman; 6 Still the Rhythm; 7 Ten Shades of Grey; 8 Stab in the Back; 9 Pretend Best Friend; 10 Time O The Signs; 11 What the Doctor Ordered; 12 Some People Say; 13 What Makes You Tick

If “Formaldehyde” laid the blueprint for Terrorvision’s vision of how to change British rock music, “How to Make Friends and Influence People” inserted some substance to it. The debut LP was full of promise but was patchy in terms of quality. The follow-up succeeds in minimizing filler and bringing even better tracks to the table.

The first two singles, the ridiculously catchy ‘Oblivion’ and the dark, throbbing ‘Alice What’s the Matter’, show how much the band had progressed in writing and performing. When you hear tracks like the powerful ‘Discotheque Wreck’ and ‘Pretend Best Friend’, we finally know we’ve found a perfect alternative to grunge. The music is infectious, the lyrics are simple but effective, sometimes extremely clever and cute.

‘Some People Say’ and ‘Middleman’, with it’s terrific melody, slow things down a little, but still contain the raw energy and sound that is stamped on every track on the album. ‘What the Doctor Ordered’ is a total speed-rock offering that’s perfectly timed at just over two minutes, electro-rocker ‘Still the Rhythm’ is a foot-tapper, ‘Stab in the Back’ a funky number that easily eclipsed the Red Hot Chilli Peppers back in the mid-ninties.

This is a band who are just about at the top of their game.



[Album Review] "Good to Go" – Terrorvision

"Good to Go" - TerrorvisionAlbum Title: Good to Go
Artist: Terrorvision
Year: 2001
Running Time: 50m 51s

Track listing: 1 D’Ya Wanna Go Faster; 2 Come Home Beanie; 3 Friends & Family; 4 Sometimes I’d Like to Kill Her; 5 Alone; 6 Fists of Fury; 7 Unhappy Millionaire; 8 Days Like These; 9 From Out of Nothing; 10 Subway; 11 Goldmine Jamjar

You are only as good as your last hit. That was never truer as it pertains to Terrorvision. Following much success with their previous four album releases, including numerous top forty hits, the band were mysteriously dropped by their record label, EMI. Picked up by Papillon Records, they released their final studio album in 2001, “Good to Go”.

Lead single and album opener ‘D’Ya Wanna Go Faster” was an uncharteristic techno-rock number with mundane lyrics and a predictable chord sequence. Slightly better were the harder ‘Beanie Come Home’, decent indie-style number ‘Alone’ and the catchy, classic-sounding ‘Fists of Fury’.

The album feels rushed pretty much from start to finish and it seems apparent that the band were short of ideas, and perhaps short on motivation – maybe deflated by their release from EMI. ‘Subway’ is not too bad, but appears a little flat by comparison to the best of previous albums. ‘Days Like These’ and ‘Friends & Family’ are reasonable but unspectacular rockers, while ‘Sometimes I’d Like to Kill Her’ is a little too much ‘by numbers’ for my liking.

‘Unhappy Millionaire’ is not hugely inspirational either, but album closer ‘Goldmine Jamjar’ is a bit more like it. A throbbing chorus with in-your-face, and slightly ludicrous, lyrics, it finishes the album, and the band’s career, in style. However the standout recording on the album is the beautiful ballad, ‘From Out of Nothing’, with it’s gentle piano refrain and melodic guitar and percussion-backed chorus.

There’s a few gems here, but overall it’s mediocre and definitely their worst release. Still if you’ve got the others and fancy completing the collection, ‘From Out of Nothing’ is almost worth it on it’s own.


[Album Review] "Formaldehyde" – Terrorvision

Formaldehyde - TerrorvisionAlbum Title: Formaldehyde
Artist: Terrorvision
Year: 1993
Running Time:45m 54s

Track listing: 1 Problem Solved; 2 Ships That Sink; 3 American TV; 4 New Policy One; 5 Jason; 6 Killing Time; 7 Urban Space Crime; 8 Hole for a Soul; 9 Don’t Shoot My Dog; 10 Desolation Town; 11 My House; 12 Human Being

When Terrorvision slid somewhat untentatively onto the alternative rock scene in 1992, they were quickly dismissed by the British rock press as bubble-gum rock, and in some cases, utter tripe. Their riff-heavy, quirky and unusual brand of up-tempo rock music, as well as their peculiar and somtimes simplistic lyrics, made them hard to categorise – and the upper echelons didn’t like it.

But in a trend that lasted their ten-year career, Terrorvision were an impossible band to hate. Their debut LP is difficult to dismiss. Opening with the heavy ‘Problem Solved’, a song jazzed up no-end by interesting time-changes, ‘Ships That Sink’ and ‘American TV’ continue the groove-heavy direction. ‘New Policy One’ seems to borrow heavily from the Police’s ‘Every Breath You Take’ but again the vibrancy of the band’s sound and soothing urgency of Tony Wright’s vocals give the song a unique feel.

Few songs sound familiar to each other. ‘My House’ is a slightly irritating folk-rock number, ‘Jason’ a rock-out number about a man lost in hate and anger, ‘Killing Time’ the closest the band come to a ballad. ‘Desolation Town’ is a mainly acoustic number about loneliness – including the imaginative line “My car was built the same year Hendrix died”. ‘Human Being’ is a superb album closer, downbeat but conversely full of energy.

Some other stuff isn’t quite up to scratch. ‘Urban Space Crime’ sounds too much like the sort of riff a dodgy eighties hair-outfit like WASP might have put out, and ‘Hole for a Soul’ is funky for a while before getting lost in a rather dull story and duller chorus.

But overall this is a very strong debut and worth picking up.

[Album Review] "Regular Urban Survivors" – Terrorvision

Regular Urban Survivors - TerrorvisionAlbum Title: Regular Urban Survivors
Artist: Terrorvision
Year: 1996
Running Time: 42m 21s

Track listing: 1 Enteralterego; 2 Superchronic; 3 Perseverance; 4 Easy; 5 Hide the Dead Girl; 6 Conspiracy; 7 Didn’t Bleed Red; 8 Dog Chewed the Handle; 9 Junior; 10 Bad Actress; 11 If I Was You; 12 Celebrity Hit List; 13 Mugwump

Following on from the undoubted success of “How to Make Friends and Influence People”, Terrorvision reached their career peak with 1996’s “Regular Urban Survivors”. Keeping in tune with the humour that the band infused in all of their music, the project was promoted as the soundtrack to a a fictitious James Bond-style movie.

There is plenty of the groove-driven rock humour that the band had perfected on their previous records. ‘Perseverance’ has a jaunty riff and clever lyrics – ‘I was yellow when they said to fight the reds/cos I knew I’d be beaten black and blue’. ‘Hide the Dead Girl’ is another fine example. A story about getting away with murder, the lyrics are brilliant – ‘She was ducking for apples/and we stick to that story/we just held her breath for her/and sadly she drowned’.

‘If I Was You’ is a likable punk-rock anthem about having a hangover while ‘Celebrity Hit List’ is a dazzling rocker about a falling star who has gambled everything away: ‘I lost my family on a sure fire thing’, Tony crows. Aliens arrive on earth in ‘Didn’t Bleed Red’, a slow-building tune which explodes into a super-heavy crescendo of noise during the chorus, and opening duo ‘Enteralterego’ and ‘Superchronic’ are powerful rock-tunes in their own right.

‘Easy’ is a pleasant, mid-American rocker, ‘Dog Chewed the Handle’ an atmospheric straight-on rocker, ‘Bad Actress’ an outstanding slow-burning verbal assault on an ex-partner, while the album closer ‘Mugump’ is a brassy and catchy number.

Slightly less impressive are the bass-infused ‘Conspiracy’ and the average and throw-away ‘Junior’.

Overall this is a hard-rocking, amusing and extremely catchy collection of tunes. This is Terrorvision’s career high.