In the musical confused decade that was the 1990’s, Yorkshire’s Terrorvision certainly livened things up and added a touch of “stability” with a string of zany singles. Kooky they may have been, but they often masked a serious message and, for his latest solo release, The Anti-Album, Terrorvision frontman Tony Wright has stripped away the sparkly veneer to reveal 10 brutally honest songs which stand stark and vulnerable.
The Anti-Album is a concept record that’s stitched together by a common thread and opening track ‘Sleep’ introduces many themes that will echo throughout. It’s a story that’s relatable, yet wide enough for the listener to infer their own meaning, and while it’s perfectly feasible to dip in and out, this is an immersive record that’s best experienced in one sitting to fully appreciate its interlacing charms. The first thing you should notice about the first shot is that it sounds absolutely massive. What’s even more impressive is that it’s recorded by a compact trio who sound far bigger than their constituent parts. Certainly not recommended for narcoleptics, the end of each line crashes like waves to the shore, and the rhythmic riff ululates like driftwood caught on said waves. The theme of environment, be it natural or manmade, surfaces periodically on this album and the stark nature of ‘Nothing To Write Home About’ mirrors an urban desolation that’s both stark and startling. Tony’s voice has aged to become an old bluesman, and it adds an air of realism as he guides us through the stories of the characters who inhabit his songs.
While there’s a dark hue hanging over this record, I hope I haven’t made it sound too dusky because its seriousness is tempered by Tony’s humour which comes shining through in a neat lyrical turn of phrase. However, if life has taken a bite out of you then you’ll recognise this sound; it’s a leaden sky with the occasional bright ray of sunlight piercing the grey. Whenever I listen to rock music, I often think how the songs would work in an Unplugged situation, however, I get the impression that the tracks comprising The Anti-Album could easily be “rocked up” and amplified, and they’d work equally well. But it’s acoustically that these songs thrive and makes the perfect vehicle for songs such as ‘Dreaming I’m In Love’ and ‘Cannonball’. Despite its sparse, stripped-back aesthetic, The Anti-Album is a record that’ll reward repeat spins as subtle nuances, musical flourishes and neat turns of phrase, will bubble to the surface on each play.
Those who only know of Tony Wright from singles such as ‘Tequila’ will be surprised at the melancholy to be found within the grooves of The Anti-Album. But it’s time to forget everything you thought you knew about the man and enjoy one of 2022’s best albums.
- Reviewed by Peter Dennis.
- The Anti-Album is released via Granite Records and is available now.
- Official Website
- Nothing To Write Home About
- I Get It Wrong
- Buried You Deeper
- Dreaming I’m In Love
- All In Our Heads
- Hearts And Minds
- Gamble, Drink & Smoke