There are many bands that you really want to see reform: The Kinks, Van Halen, Jethro Tull, Led Zeppelin, Judas Priest getting Rob Halford back, Aerosmith and Thunder all spring to mind immediately. There are also lots of bands that you wish had never formed in the first place (think Avenged Sevenfold). Then there are the quiet, insulting groups that thankfully ran their course before finally spluttering out. When one of these latter bands decides to reform you have to worry about the current state of rock ’n’ roll and the music business.
Such is the case with the quite awful Terrorvision who formed in 1991 after having spent the previous four years trudging around the cabaret circuit in northern England under the name of Spoilt Bratz. Terrorvision, namely Tony Wright (singer), Mark Yates (lead guitar), Leigh Marklew (bass guitar) and David Ian “Shutty” Shuttleworth (drums), released five albums between 1991 and 2001 with varying degrees of success. This album, “Regular Urban Survivors” (1996), was their highest charting in the United Kingdom, reaching the giddy heights of number eighteen.
It is very notable that Terrorvision had no chart success in the rest of the world – it was only the British that seemed to have fallen under their spell. None of the group’s other albums did nearly as well (and quite rightly), so taking this as the pinnacle of their popularity it only takes a quick listen to realize it’s very ‘samey’, with each track sounding pretty much like the last and the lyrics solely consisting of just shouting out the song title off key and in a flat monotone voice. It’s really very annoying but easy to know which track you are listening to as the title is repeated so often that it hammers at your ears. One can only imagine that the songwriting for the album was done in one night, just chucking down words that came to mind at the time.
Terrorvision call themselves a rock band, which quite frankly I think is an insult to all rock bands in the world (“this is not rock music as we know it Jim”) and sadly, often the band members seem to all be playing a different song at the same time. (Do not expect any guitar solos or anything clever to break up the monotony as it just does not happen. Your foot does not tap once).
The band did have a massive hit in 1999 with a single called “Tequila”. Now while I fully agree that it’s a jolly good title, the song was just a very ordinary Terrorvision effort that had passed by unnoticed until Mint Royale (protégés of Fatboy Slim) did a complete remix of it and turned it into a disco/dance hit that reached number two in the British charts. But apart from bearing their name it really had nothing to do with the band’s style, so it was a bit of an anomaly.
Something like “Tequila” would have at least given “Regular Urban Survivors” a bit of variety, although that is not saying much. The record company soon saw the folly of their ways after this and Terrorvision, with plummeting sales and no record company support quickly folded in 2001, just two years after their only really big hit.
Why they have now reformed is anybody’s guess as record sales are no better and concert attendances very poor. Seeing them live is a sad sight – three rather shy inadequate musicians, backing up a flat singer wearing a high visibility safety shirt and slacks and attempting to act like a teenager. As you may have gathered, we are not impressed!
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(Written by Hells Bells and Mott the Dog – Photo by Harpic Bryant of Breezeridge Photography)