Reviewed by MJBrady on 02 Aug 2002
French TV are a band that are as strange as they are great, borrowing elements from the RIO sides of progrock, they also keep some continuity by involving as much influence from fusion. Of course this makes for a very technically demanding music, and they have the musicians that are capable and dedicated enough to pull it off.
1. Um Tut Sut
This is classic French TV, some quirky circus sounding music, eventually evolves into a jazz fusion fiasco of aural delight. This song exemplfies the very musical mutations that make this band so unique. If you live for odd time signatures, and dissharmonia, this songs delves into that full on.
2. No Raven Tonight
This 9 minute piece, not only has a great name, but features some rare vocals, something not heard much with this band. But the singing doesn't make the song any less odd, the band does manage to put their signature after the main beats start, there are some nice flute and violin solo trade offs, leading iinto a guitar jam session, all while played over a stomping beat of bass, drums, and keyboards. This is as close to a straight ahead soong as I have ever heard by French TV, but it's still a odd one.
My dictionary doesn't recognize this word, so it's meaning is unknown to me. The music is a haunting odd time march, with some interesting violin melodies accompanying. The complex rhythm developements are similar to The Dregs during their more abstract songs. This song continues to expand in and out of lateral moods, never clinging to any certain verse, but an ongoing show of musical episodes, this is yet another long and intersting song at over 14 minutes.
4. Black Day, White Light
Here I am four songs into this cd, and I have yet to hear a song under eight minutes long. This song starts off with some etherial, atmospheric keywork, and some King Crimson-ish guitars, suddenly the band gets rocking, a pulsaating bass, drum beat, is played over with a duet of keys and guitars playing in a mode similar to Russian music. Than comes the odd tempos, this is one area you can count on French TV to be predictably unpredictable at. 4/4 times is merely a starting point for them. Later some more great violin soloing comes in, I must admit, I don't recall so much violin on other cds of theirs that I have heard, but it's great none the less. This song clocks in at 9 and 1/2 mins.
5. The souls of the Damned Live in failed Works
Yet another song over 9 minutes, This song starts out with a Miriodir feel, some dissharminic dualling of sax and keys, is soon followed by some synth work and strings, this alternating of themes repeats until midway through the song, where the band gets very noisy, setting a sort of dreamstate, than getting back into a jam styled setting where the guitarist and keyboardist let loose.
6. Pioneers over C
Well, I have heard some long and epic songs on this album, but this is the longest, at almost 16 minutes, this song also features singing in the beginning, kind of in the style of Happy the Man, of course this segues into what the band does the best, and that is to play quirky and indifferent music, music that defies accepted categorizations, and as unusual as French TV's music is, there is an accessabilty to it that many RIO and avantgarde bands don't seem to have.
Intestinal Fortitude is a very good, if not different piece of highly perplexing music, maybe not my favorite of theirs to date, but it certainly features the very sounds and musics that define them as a band, this is for progressive fans that appreciate the more adventurous side of the genres, especially if you like bands such as Miriodir, Birdsongs of the Mesozoic, U Totem, Art Bears, Dr. Nerve, etc.