NME 23rd March 1985

"The Painted Word" (Illuminated)
If Fotherington-Tomas, the wet, the weed, the bane of Nigel Molesworth's skooldays, was socially aware and a mite cockney, he'd've been singing and lyricising over this record. The Television Personalities (or TVPs as in Textured Vegetable Protein - dig?) have a lusty following in Europe, are earnest, hard-working and prolific. . .

Oh dear. This opus even made the cat cringe. The band are OK in a plodding, Dream Syndicate kind of way. And girl, does it moon along. It's still very hard to take them seriously. There's nothing wrong with gentle, caring music, but one must draw the line at those jangling, morris dancers' ankle bells. The only song that sounds like it isn't a cast-off from Sesame Street is 'The Painted Word' - and that pops up twice. It's the only one that isn't modelled on a wilting daisy-chain.

Sometimes they'd like to stop and smell the roses, there are babies born without heads on, tra la, swimming in a sea of cynicism (aren't we all, pal?), tra la, gymslip mums changing nappies and living in empty margarine tubs, tra la. Textured Vegetable Protein remind us of all this - and Vietnam too. It's potentially harrowing stuff, f'sure, f'sure. But that bloody wallowing, whining voice.

One of the TVPs has a brother and a sister who have gold discs for singing with Minipops. This prompted the realisation that the TVPs would truly fulfill their worthiness if aimed at the infant social worker market. And that's a serious suggestion. Must go now. There are fairies wife-battering at the bottom of our garden.

Cath Carroll

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