Album Review

Psychic TV – “Force The Hand of Chance” – [Angry Love Productions]

Naysayer   10/15/2016   12-inch, A Library

What becomes a legend most? This is the true question to ask of this 34 year old work which some call a masterpiece and the best Psychic TV album. For me, Psychic TV have always been the band I love to hate. I’ve seen them perform four times, all during different stages of their journey. They have always scared me. The hardcore fans, who are like post punk Deadheads, have scared me. I always feel a bit overwhelmed by the feeling that to fully appreciate them I have to give in to them 100%. I don’t care enough about anything, nor trust anything enough to give 100% and hence my feelings of being an outsider when presented with PTV. But….
Listening now in 2016 to “Force the Hand of Chance”, their first album, I may be able to understand it. At least appreciate it. This came out one year after Throbbing Gristle quit (the first time). PTV were one half of TG – Genesis P-Orridge and Peter Christopherson plus Alex Fergusson. TG fans were desperate for more industrial, but what a surprise. The first track on “Force…” is this sweet folk lullaby to Genesis’ new baby daughter. WHAT? Where’s the screaming and metal, as in machinery. And it continues in this way. English folk influences. Nods to spaghetti western themes. Orchestrated strings. Lush instrumental pieces. Songs that are almost ballads. Genesis actually sings. The listeners went bonkers. Some were pissed. Others embraced. And for good reason. This was something so new and challenging in it’s approach and style. Today, it’s hard for me not to get a chill at Marc Almond’s guest vocals on “Stolen Kisses” and “Guiltless”. My foot starts tapping at the pre-Acid House PTV dance number “Ov Power”. The lyrics tell stories. Underlying darkness is there, for sure, but the beauty of the whole production is stunning. The spoken word piece, “Message From The Temple”, is read by Mr. Sebastian, notorious London S&M and body manipulation practitioner. It is the manifesto for PTV’s Thee Temple ov Psychick Youth. This is all essential stuff, for understanding PTV and much of the music played at this station. Stunning. I finally get it.

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