There are probably few people who have remained unaffected by the Lockdown and the chaos that it ushered in. None more so than TV Smith who had to abandon a run of fifty or so gigs across Germany in some of the biggest venues of his career to date. So what do you do when plans of such magnitude are royally scuppered? Well, one option is to hunker down at home and pour out your thoughts and feelings into song. And Lockdown Holiday is the result.
As always with TV Smith, the album runs on optimism and humour whilst dealing with difficult subjects and documenting unprecedented times. Take The Lucky Ones which kicks of this astute and astounding album, where he balances his own lockdown frustrations against the millions of people who have it worse than us. So he misses out on a tour but when compared to those in war zones or refugee camps, those on the edge of starvation or suffering the worst that life has to offer, he is, like everyone who will get to hear this album, one of the lucky ones.
But against this hopeful backdrop, there is plenty of room for criticism too. Send in The Clown points out the “I’d laugh if this wasn’t so serious” nature of a certain “floppy-haired fop,” and Let’s Go Back to The Good Old Days examines the rose-tinted disaster that comes with nationalistic politics and the knee-jerk following of jingoist rhetoric. And then there is I Surf The Second Wave which sees the pandemic from the point of the virus itself, a slow and chilling ballad.
For just “a guy with a guitar”, these are powerful songs. But then TV Smith has always had a wonderful way of turning lyrics into poignant and powerful statements. No need to throw in sonic kitchen sinks when the words are the major selling point in their own right. His is a sound which exists where folk’s ability to entertain and inform meets punks more incisor, rabble-rousing spirit.
If punk has a relevant legacy in the modern age it is with people such as TV Smith. People who have grown from disenfranchised outsiders into articulate, artistic agitators. Musicians who have something to say, something really important. If you are finding it hard to find the words to describe the contradictions of the lockdown, of the tumult and tumble of emotions and attitudes, of where the country goes next and indeed how it gets there then this album does it for you.