I read a review (or maybe it was just a facebook post) of Matt Berry's new album Television Themes that asked the question, "why?". Why would anyone put so much time and effort into recording and releasing a television theme cover album? Would anyone even be interested in a record of faithful recreations of music from 50 year old British TV shows? The answers to these questions, in reverse order are "yes" and "why not?". Well, the answer to why Berry made the record could (probably is) more complex than that, but whether it's nostalgia for nostalgia's sake or a layered comment on the complex entanglement of memory and pop-culture in a post-television world, it is, at it's heart a fun and endearing album. For me, it was easy to feel connected to the concept as a lot of the themes that appear on the album (Are You Being Served?, The Good Life, Doctor Who etc.) are from shows that I was forced to watch (and ended up loving) when I was a kid. I don't know whether it was because there were only 5 channels to choose from or because my British Mother, Great Aunt and Grandmother often controlled the remote, but these shows were a huge part of my childhood and hearing their themes again brought back memories of roast dinners, Yorkshire pies (yuck, urgh) and the many hours I spent sitting in-front of a space heater kind-of-but-not-quite understanding why Mr. Godfrey was so funny. Not everyone is going to like this record as much as I do, but if you remember these shows, you're a Matt Berry fan or you like short, sharp, proggy novelty songs, put aside 30 minutes of your day for a fun trip down memory lane.
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