My Dark Places is an apt title for Television Personalities' first album in eight years. In that time, TVP main man Dan Treacy basically dropped out of sight due to drug addiction and a criminal lifestyle, both of which landed him in jail. Upon his release in 2004, Treacy set about getting a band together and recording. Working with old friend/bandmate Ed Ball, the album they made is both a harrowing portrait of life lived on the fringes of society and a wide-eyed and innocent pop album reminiscent of old TVP material. The album starts off with a quartet of bleak and difficult songs, the third of which, "I Get Sick Again," is a heart-wrenching ballad of a broken soul that is only topped by the next song, the alarmingly atonal, intimate and despairing "Ex-Girlfriends Club." If the rest of the record had continued in this vein, you'd probably rip it out of your player and reach for a Captain & Tennille comp to bring yourself back from the edge. Luckily Treacy performs that task himself, and after the storm clouds clear a bit the record reattains a healthy balance of light and dark with an almost equal amount of sweet songs like "Dream the Sweetest Dreams" and the noise pop confection "She Can Stop Traffic," both bring to mind vintage TVP classics -- silly tunes like the painfully whimsical "They'll Have to Catch Us First" or the barroom boogie of "Velvet Underground" which asks the age-old musical question "How did the Velvet Underground get that sound?" and tender and sad ballads like "No More I Love You's" and the so-sad-you'll-want-to-puke "There's No Beautiful Way to Say Goodbye." The sound of the record is charmingly slapdash and lo-fi just like the old days, but modern as well. The band is loose, artless, and highly sympathetic, while Victoria Yeulet's vocals are a wonderful addition to the usual TVP sound. Most of all Treacy is as sharp and as real as ever. His vocals haven't changed a bit (and that is a good thing) and despite the almost unremitting black cloud that hovers over the first bit of the album, he and his cohorts have crafted a stunning comeback that will alternately horrify, thrill, and satisfy fans of Television Personalities, as well as fans of honest, real, and truly independent indie rock.
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AllMusic Review by Tim Sendra