Proctor and Bergman

TV or Not TV

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With two members of Firesign Theatre, it's hard not to compare Proctor and Bergman to the famous troupe that spawned them. For one thing, this album-length parody of a futuristic cable television station doesn't break much new ground -- the Firesigns had already dedicated much of Don't Crush That Dwarf, Hand Me the Pliers to the same subject (as well as much of their previous output, come to think of it). On the other hand, this project gives them a lot more room to explore the concept; it's also a much more focused affair than a Firesign Theatre album thanks to the fact that there are only half as many distinct personalities fighting for dominance, even though it means there's a little bit less anarchic variety. While a bit of the unpredictable wildness is missed, there's certainly a lot going for this leaner version of the troupe: the two-man production certainly resembles a stripped-down cable TV staff a lot better; that's not to mention the great musical numbers here, notably "Communist Love Song." And face it, coming after the disastrous Not Insane album, this break from the full troupe is bound to sound worlds better. Thankfully, it also provided a bit of a creative recharge that helped the full troupe on the next outing.

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