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Television Hill - Twilight Review
by Shannon Taylor

First of all, let me start off by saying that this album is definitely not for everyone. As a matter of fact, it seems that Television Hill are not aiming to please or entertain anyone else but themselves with this album. In a sense, it is almost as if they have tried to create an album that concentrates on being as un-accessible and un-radio friendly as possible.

What Television Hill seem to be trying to create with Twilight is a vibe - an early 70s, drugged out, Stonesy, heartbroken country mixed with good time honky tonk vibe. At times it is hard to ascertain whether Television Hill are really in love with this type of music, or if they are satirizing it completely. But then sometimes you get the distinct impression that it is a mix of both, much like the Rolling Stones country efforts in albums like Sticky Fingers and Exile On Main Street - the bands do have a genuine affinity for country music, but also manage to poke fun at it and not take themselves too seriously with their country leanings. At the risk of going too far with the Stones comparisons, it needs to be said that lead singer Rob Wilson's voice sounds like a very drugged out Mick Jagger - think of Mick on a Keef style binge, singing "Dead Flowers" whilst underwater and crying and you would get Wilson's voice.

Twilight opens strongly with "Jewel of Texas", which can only be described as a sad, slow country waltz. The lyrics while obviously simplistic are enjoyable and suit the style of music well. For example, "Well, I used ta love my whiskey/And I used ta love my wife/And I never thought that I might see the day/Packed my bags for Texas city/And lived a drifter's life/'Til I finally found a home across the bay." Again, it is really hard to tell if Television Hill are serious with this style of music, but it is commendable that even with the feelings that they could just be making fun of country music, there is still a tinge of regret evident in the song. The next highlight comes in the song "Bamako Express" which even manages to incorporate a tiny part of reggae in the chorus and is just a good time song, where it is quite obvious that the guys are not taking themselves too seriously at this point. The instrumental "Saratoga" is a really beautiful piece of music, which manages to convey regret, sadness and hope, showing that the guys of Television Hill are really genuinely talented. Easily the best song on the album is the cover of "John the Revelator." The song is punchy, fun and some good time rock n roll - while the trading of verses between Rob Wilson and David Bergander, coupled with the backing vocals really add a bit more depth and range to countrified sound heard up to this point on the disc. The last two songs of "Ginx Blues" and "Buttercup Maidens" bring the album home strongly, showcasing not only the rockin' country but also the heartbroken, get-drunk-so-I-don't-have-to-think-of-you-anymore vibes that make up such a big part of the album itself.

Overall, Television Hill is at times a difficult band to listen to, but you get the distinct impression that the guys like it that way. However, there is definitely something about music that is so unabashedly individual and uncompromising, in this age of commercialization and record company bottom lines, that makes Television Hill incredibly appealing. Again, it's definitely not for everyone, and many people will easily be turned off by Wilson's lonesome, off-key wail - but it is definitely worth a listen for country fans who cannot stand commercial country radio.

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