Exposé Online banner

French TV — Operation: Mockingbird
(Pretentious Dinosaur 12, 2017, CD)

by Jon Davis, Published 2018-03-03

Operation: Mockingbird Cover art

For Operation: Mockingbird, labeled “Number Twelve,” veteran avant-prog band French TV consists of founder Mike Sary with Mark L. Perry (drums) and Katsumi Yoneda (guitar), both of whom are carried over from the last FTV album, along with a set of newcomers: Patrick Strawser (keyboards), Karl Ledus (saxophone, flute), Ludovic Fabre (violin), and Nico Fabre (keyboards on one track). In general, the established FTV sound is intact, with complex instrumental compositions featuring frequent shifts in mood and style, but this outing seems less abrasive and extreme in its juxtapositions. Or maybe I’m just getting more used to this kind of thing. Of the eight tracks here, six are group compositions (Sary, Yoneda, Strawser, Perry) and two are credited to Strawser on his own. At times, the music is reminiscent of Canterbury groups like National Health or Phil Miller’s In Cahoots, though with a strong RIO component along the lines of Thinking Plague. The album is bookended by the two relatively simple Strawser pieces “Ghost Zone” and “Silent Years,” with the effect of packaging up the set tidily and providing boundaries for the more intense and unpredictable middle portion. Strawser’s keyboards, featuring electric piano prominently, act as the base on which the arrangements are build, with sophisticated jazzy chords enhancing the Canterbury vibe due to the similarity with the way Dave Stewart used his instruments. He also contributes some excellent solo moments. Yoneda shines on guitar, whether riffing precisely or flying off on solos. Ludovic Fabre gets a few spots to step up on violin as well, with a particularly notable solo on “Nimrod Dancer.” Sary’s bass and Perry’s drums are the glue holding it all together, changing direction frequently but making it seem logical. In short, this is an excellent addition to the legacy of a band that’s been around three and a half decades, and a great place to start for those who haven’t yet discovered Kentucky’s primary contribution to progressive rock.


Filed under: New releases, 2017 releases

Related artist(s): French TV

More info
http://frenchtv.bandcamp.com/album/operation-mockingbird

Latest news

2020-07-22
Tim Smith RIP – Tim Smith, leader of the eccentric band Cardiacs, has died at the ago of 59 after many years of health problems. Cardiacs was known for intense and complicated music that combined punk energy with the rhythmic and harmonic sophistication of progressive rock. » Read more

2020-07-12
Judy Dyble RIP – Singer-songwriter Judy Dyble, who was a founding member of Fairport Convention and one of the distinctive voices of the 60s folk revival in Britain, has died at the age of 71. Her passing came at the end of a long illness, though which she continued to work. » Read more

2020-07-06
Ennio Morricone RIP – Famed composer Ennio Morricone has died at the age of 91. The creator of scores for more than 500 movies, some of his works have become the most recognizable sounds in the history of cinema. His soundtracks for Sergio Leone's Westerns made from 1964 to 1971, are iconic landmarks in film music, but he also composed for dramas, comedies, and other genres. He won the Academy Award for Best Original Score in 2016 for The Hateful Eight. » Read more

2020-06-14
Keith Tippett RIP – One of the giants of British jazz has left us. Keith Graham Tippetts, known professionally as Keith Tippett, died today at the age of 72. His work from the late 60s into the 70s and beyond includes some of the greatest jazz produced in the UK, and stands as an impressive oevre to this day. » Read more

2020-05-15
Phil May of The Pretty Things RIP – We were saddened to learn that Phil May, lead singer and founding member of The Pretty Things, has died at the age of 75. The band's 1968 album S.F. Sorrow is one of the enduring classics of the psychedelic era, and the group existed in various forms until finally retiring in 2018. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Cartoon - Sortie – The end of the 70s and first years of the 80s were a defining time in the history of progressive rock. The dinosaurs that had dominated throughout the first half of the 70s were rapidly becoming a...  (1994) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues