Where to start with Alternative TV? Most know that Mark Perry, founder of Sniffin’ Glue fanzine, formed the group either due to or as a response to punk in 1977.
Since the debut ‘How Much Longer’ 7” released that very same year, however, Mark has remained the sole surviving original member and driving force. Not one to stand still, he has taken the group through a succession of lineup changes embarking on a wide spectrum of styles since then; the only truly unifying factor amounting to a sensibility that never once strayed from its original status.
It is through this justifiably much vaunted approach that Alternative TV have been responsible for around fifteen albums since their formation, with the last one, Opposing Forces, from 2015 on Public Domain Records, proving to be their strongest thus far with its marrying of igneous rock, idiosyncratic touches, barbed commentary and occasionally seething undercurrents of dark psychedelic noise.
‘Dark Places’, the newest e.p., expands the mantle set by Opposing Forces, introducing four songs cascading between full-on rock to a kind of abstract minimalist electronics approach perfectly in keeping with Alternative TV’s occasional traverses to the furthest reaches.
Each track, pinned into place by Dave Morgan and Clive Giblin, arrives with its own distinctive approach, enhanced further by the legendary Vic Godard’s guest appearance on guitar on ‘Like a Tomb’, once more encapsulating a vision as perfectly widescreen as it is bifurcated.
1. The System
3. Like a Tomb
4. Her Dark Places