TV SMITH – ” Lockdown Holiday “

Posted: February 13, 2021 in MUSIC

If there’s one good thing to be drawn from the music industry’s pandemic-led collapse, it’s the fact that a lot of artists have spent their enforced vacations making records that neither we nor they expected to hear. The fruits of those labours are now beginning to emerge, but few are so direct, and so utterly enjoyable, as TV Smith’s contribution.

Unequivocally titled, passionately performed and, as always, brilliantly lyric-ed (is that even a word?), “Lockdown Holiday” is effectively a concept album, tracing the course of both the pandemic and the UK authorities’ response to it. It builds, however, not out of simple observation, but also from Smith’s own first-hand encounter with the bug… picked up, ironically, on his way to one of the final shows he was able to play before it became prudent to stop altogether. “One sneeze in a service station, that’s where my calendar ends.”

The overall mood is acoustic, an atmosphere that always brings out the best in Smith – he plays guitar like he sings, his plectrum rushing to keep up with the lyrics that fall as fast from his mouth today as they ever did back in the days of the Adverts. Likewise, the shifts in emphasis which hit you as hard as a crate full of bass drums, as “The Lucky Ones” shifts from an account of his own Covid-fired sufferings to those of others who don’t have the luxury of a comfortable bed and hot running water to see them through their convalescence.

It’s not a feelgood album… some folk might even find it depressing; it’s bad enough that this bloody bug dominates the news and conversation, do we really need to singalong to songs about it? The difference is, Smith’s commentary is worth hearing (and singing along with); and, besides, the lessons that he draws from what we’ve been going through is applicable to a lot more than the pandemic.

Rather, it is the conditions in which the pandemic has flourished, social and cultural, that interest him the most, targets that shift from the government misinformation we’ve all heard about, to the fact that society in general has become so used to technology solving all our problems instantly that we don’t have a clue what to do about something that can’t be fixed with a quick Google search. But it can certainly be unfixed, if you believe most of what you read.

All of which makes things sound a lot more dour than they are – “Lockdown Holiday” itself might not have the most cheerful lyrics, but there are tunes here that will lock themselves into your brain first time, to go with the thoughts that will linger even longer. This should be included in the best new releases of 2020 (it was released at the end of November).

the TV Smith album “Lockdown Holiday,” release date November 27th. 2020

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