Label: Rocketgirl Records Release date: 01/06/10 Link: Myspace There is no denying that Television Personalities have a huge scope of influence. The Libertines, The Arctic Monkeys, even MGMT have taken inspiration to some extent from Dan Tracey et al, and fleeting comparisons can be made between Tracey’s own brand of melancholy, and that of Elliot Smith or Ian Curtis. With themes of deterioration and insanity juxtaposing an underlying sense of hopefulness and an essentially childlike quality, A Memory is Better than Nothing is an aptly titled collection of musings fraught with duality and conflict. Opening with the promisingly cheerful 'A Memory is Better than Nothing', the casual punk outfit induce a sense of nostalgia through reflective lyrics and a catchy melody, which is typical of the album in its entirety. The gregarious 'Girl in the Hand Me Down Clothes' takes a more sombre tone; mixing lyrical commentary on social decay, with poppy beats and a somnolent melody. This is probably the least inward looking song of the pack and, whilst I can’t claim to be a fan of Tracey’s vocals, I must admit that on this occasion, his coarse intermissions only serve to add to the sense of wretchedness depicted in the song. Tinged with innocence and befuddled charm, the boy/girl duet, 'The Good Anarchist' evokes air of vulnerability and haunted, wistful romanticism. Climaxing in a blur of shrill squeaks and whispering voices, this piece is demonstrative of the underwhelming but actually rather sweet essence of the album as a whole. Finally, the peaceful 'You Freed My Spirit' projects confessional and almost religious undertones. In lyrics like "Cast aside like a waste of time, you came along and changed me… you freed my spirit, I’m so glad I found you", there is a great sense of catharsis and rebirth as well as an aura of both frailty and finality. As with most of the tunes on this record, this song too is emotionally introspective, involving a great sense of personal reflection. In this new offering, TVP has managed to create an assortment of tunes that are perhaps a little deeper, or a tad more tortured, than your average indie pop inflictions. The songs are dominated by fading and loss, coupled with an obscure sense of optimism; which is arguably indicative of the times in which we live and notably something of an achievement. That said, it all just seems a little bit tired. There are glimpses of genuine creativity (the instrumental part in the Pavement-esque 'My New Tattoo' is actually rather fun in a slightly ramshackle way), but all too often polished, quirky instrumental lines are extinguished by raspy, distracting vocals; repetitive, introspective lyrics and the feeling that this has all been done before. Photobucket