Tom Verlaine Warm and Cool

[Rykodisc/Thrill Jockey; 1992]

Rating: 1/5

Styles: post-punk, post-rock, new wave
Others: Television, Thurston Moore, David Byrne

If you think I'm wrong about this, please write in and tell me why. Seriously. Because I have no idea why someone would bother with Warm and Cool, let alone enough to reissue it 13 years after the fact. My theory is that, since Thrill Jockey has signed former Television guitarist Tom Verlaine to a deal for the release of a solo record near the beginning of next year, they gained access to his back catalog and figured, why not? Warm and Cool is the most recent Verlaine record, despite being 13 years old, and it's interesting more for what it lacks than what it presents.

The album's original release featured 14 instrumental tracks, with Verlaine on guitar and former bandmates Fred Smith and Billy Ficca, along with Jay Dee Daugherty of the Church and Patrick Derivaz. The album's recording sessions were largely improvised, and it shows – it's mostly Verlaine noodling around a simple riff while the other players brush their drums and do the steps with bass, respectively, without getting in his way. On some songs Verlaine uses a little reverb, on some he plays with delay. But that's it. Thrill Jockey's reissue adds another 8 songs for no more reason, apparently, than that they were available. In an included interview, Verlaine says of the bonus tracks that they were "dumped into a computer... I tried to edit out the mistakes but wasn't always able to... a lot of imperfections." Gee, sounds great. 

Verlaine, for the most part, does an adequate job with these "nighttime" instrumentals, which to their credit do suit the night-highway feeling evoked by the album's cover. Unfortunately, aside from its utility as a mood piece, Warm and Cool is neither as interesting as Verlaine's work with Television nor as interesting as many other instrumental bands of similar ilk. It isn't complex or jazzy, it doesn't rock, and it really doesn't try to do very much in the first place. Sorry, dude – this one should have stayed in '92.

1. Those Harbor Lights
2. Sleepwalkin'
3. The Deep Dark Clouds
4. Saucer Crash
5. Depot
6. Boulevard
7. Harley Quinn
8. Sor Juanna
9. Depot
10. Spiritual
11. Little Dance
12. Ore
13. Depot
14. Lore

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