Review Summary: Them remembrances.
I really enjoy this trend of recent years, where enthusiasts go out of their way to find either lost albums of well-known bands, or forgotten outputs by undiscovered artists, and then release their findings. Sure, Beautiful Despair
was not dug up by fans, but directly brought up by the masterminds behind the band, Dan Treacy and Jowe Head (also of Swell Maps fame), but the sentiment is the same. And if you are at all familiar with the doings of Television Personalities, you know what to expect. This album is that good old, albeit slightly fuzzier than usual, lo-fi subtle post-punk.
Okay, scratch that. This is not just fuzzier than usual; it also gives off the obvious unfinished aesthetic. When this album was recorded back in the warmth of 1989’s carefree mood, it was decided that these recordings will never see the light of a mastering booth. And it sounds accordingly. The vocals are off more than usual, the production is virtually non-existent and the instrumentation is reduced to its minimal form. However, the melodies are still –for the most part–great and they make you forget about all the imperfections the album carries on every other level.
So it really just comes down to whether or not you are able to bear the unendurable dissonant execution that drowns the beautiful melodies on cuts like “Have a Nice Da”, “Hard Luck Story Number 39”, “How Does It Feel To Be Loved”, “Love Is a Four Letter Word” or “This Heart’s Not Made of Stone”. It is understandable that these songs were made in certain displeasing conditions, but one still wishes them a merry lovely remaster that’d smooth out the often evoked awkwardness (the pretence-sax solo on the closer) or the strange, overbearing discordance in production that buries the lovely tunes.