Television, "Television", Capitol

Only a handful of guitar bands have a sound that is distinctively their own; Television is one of them. This marks a reunion of the four-man, New York City-based lineup whose two albums in the '70s laid the groundwork for much of today's alternative rock (without Television, there could not have been a Sonic Youth). From the first glistening, chiming strokes of the first track, it's clear that Television has lost none of its individuality. The 1977 album, "Marquee Moon," remains Television's must-buy masterpiece of abrasive anthems and epic guitar odysseys. But it's to the band's credit that this comeback is not merely another phase of "Moon." Instead, it draws on all the nuance and subtle craft that have marked leader Tom Verlaine's fruitful solo career. But don't overlook Richard Lloyd, the guitarist who didn't get the credit he deserved during the band's first run. Lloyd proved his mettle as an all-around rocker on a wonderful 1985 album, "Field of Fire"--so it's a little disappointing that he doesn't get to display his vocal or songwriting skills here. That's a quibble, though: Between them, Verlaine and Lloyd come up with a greater variety of imaginative, concise, and architecturally beautiful guitar parts on this album than most rock bands generate in a career. And the beauty lies not just in the guitar-wielding but in the resonance of the songs themselves--patented Verlaine emotional sketches that, in their oblique way, shine with wit and passion and let guitars amplify feelings when words alone won't suffice.

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