#MONM Day 4: Television’s Double Exposure

Television – Double Exposure

Is it stretching the definition of MoNM to check out a bootleg? I think you can make the case, and given that Double Exposure features a pre-Marquee Moon Television recording session with Brian Eno manning the boards and Richard Hell still in the band, I’d also say it’s pretty darn necessary. The boot also includes a couple of live CBGBs tracks and a handful of songs from a subsequent, Eno-less recording session in 1975. Despite all this coming two or three years before the band’s essentially flawless debut, you might think Double Exposure would be a glimpse into a band that was still working on developing its sound. Not so much. In fact, it’s amazing how much of Marquee Moon’s sound was already firmly in place.

There are differences, don’t get me wrong. The “Venus de Milo” on display here is more uptempo, though it still has that wonderful call-and-response. The guitar trills on “Marquee Moon” are a half-beat off, but track is well on its way to becoming the ten-minute marvel that would show up three years later. Much of the boot is really less a matter of hearing the band come together than picking up on a few tweaks here and there; amongst the previously released material, at least, there’s nothing revelatory.

Of the songs that never made it onto a proper album, “Double Exposure” falls closer to bluesy garage than anything the band released officially, and “Fire Engine” and “Blank Generation” cover similar terrain. All three certainly make more sense as punk precursors than most of Television’s official output, which makes it easy to see both how they helped establish the band and why they were dropped. “Hard on Love” is the only track here that both hasn’t appeared before and could’ve ended up on Marquee Moon without much reworking, even if it is more a ballad than an angular epic. Like the rest of Double Exposure, it’s still more a historical curiousity than a revelation. Even with the Eno production, I’ll probably still stick with Marquee for my Television cravings, but with its few solid new tracks and handful of twists, I’ve got no regrets about checking this one out.

Sample songs:

“Hard on Love”

“Venus de Milo”

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