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Second album syndrome? Not a chance.
on 18 January 2006
'Adventure' was always going to get a thorough musical examination from critics, coming as it did, not long after the rapturously acclaimed 'Marquee Moon'. But the panning it received on its release seemed grossly unfair at the time and now, well over 25 years later, downright ridiculous. Which means to say that 'Adventure' was, is and always will be a truly great album.
Television's sound has admittedly become less intimately raw and involving on 'Adventure' but the standard of songwriting and playing is truly something to behold. Smoother production cannot hide the sheer creativity of these songs, the way instrumental passages come flying in unexpectedly, and Tom Verlaine's singing sounds more assured. The nearest I can come to describing it is as a kind of musical theatre where each instrument has its own dramatic role, and centre-stage is Verlaine's painterly guitar playing. Songs such as 'Carried Away', 'The Fire' and 'The Dream's Dream' are highly-developed soundscapes and, to these ears, more stirring than much of 'Marquee Moon', while other tracks such as 'Foxhole' wouldn't have sounded out of place on the first album.
So there isn't anything quite as bruising as 'Friction' here, but it's not really missed. I defy anyone to be disappointed with 'Adventure' and to wonder how it could have had such a lukewarm reception that the band disbanded not long after its release. 'Adventure' is aptly named - buy it and you'll have one.