I must confess that I missed out on the first wave of punk, but I do distinctly remember seeing a copy of the Sniffin’ Glue fanzine, for which Alternative TVs Mark P was the founding editor, brought into school by one of the cool kids. I also had a couple of Sex Pistol records. Mark P (Perry) left Sniffin’ Glue on the cusp of it possibly going mega to concentrate on his own band and had he followed the herd down the tried and somewhat tested punk formula he’d have made it big. As it was he went down a different path.

We’re talking back in the hot and sweaty past of the summer of 1977, but where Alternative TV differ from their perhaps better known cohorts is that their musical style is a little bit more leftfield and not so formulaic. Their sound was described by Perry and his musical partner as being more like “Can and reggae-type rhythms” – take a listen to Love Lies Limp, the first of the records’s bonus tracks, or Life After Dub.

The Image Has Cracked was the bands first album and was released on the Deptford Fun city label in May 1978 and here it contains the original nine tunes plus another 10 tunes and is out on Cherry Red. 

This is clearly a record of its time but the music really does manage to stand the test of time pretty well. This is somewhat more clever than the aforementioned Pistols (and many more of their ilk for that matter) and all the better for it. Listen to Nasty Little Lonely and you will immediately get that ATV were an intellectual step up the ladder to the likes of Sham 69 et al…this is a tune of epic proportions and surely must go down as a classic of the genre…though the lines between punk and art rock are decidedly blurred.

So, is this a record just for those looking for a nostalgic blast from the past? Well no it’s not, this record manages to sound pretty fresh and convincing even, or perhaps more so now, in a time when we are presented with homogenised pap. Listneing to The Image Cracked you will hear that ATV influenced a good number of bands who came later..and here I’m thinking of the likes of Tottenham AK47s, Radical Dance Faction and lots of other festival type bands.

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