Record Collector # 285 May 2003

Privilege (Fire SFIRE 026 CD)
Dan Treacy's Television Personalities were one of the more appealing prospects to emerge from the punk years, all shambolic guitar pop and kitsch 60s references. But by the time that they recorded this album in 1989, they'd developed a degree of musical competence and acquired a producer's sonic gloss coat and, in doing so, lost much of their charm.

That's not to say that "Privilege" is without virtue. At best, the multi-layered electric and acoustic guitars, and lyrics such as "paradise is for the blessed, not the sex-obsessed" ("Paradise Is For The Blessed") prompt comparisons with the Smiths or Orange Juice. But Treacy's flat, troubled, whimsical voice isn't strong enough to command attention over 15 songs, and too often "Privilege" sounds no better (or worse) than the many C-86 fey indie janglers that, ironically, Treacy and his every-changing assemblage did so much to inspire.

Mark Brend

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