Various Artists, Action Time & Vision – The Very Best Of Mark Perry & Atv 1977-1999

Mark Paytress

By Mark Paytress

on 04.22.11 in Reviews
A career-spanning retrospective from the bank clerk turned punk rock evangelist turned early post-punk agitator.

Bank clerk turned punk rock evangelist, Mark Perry was a key figure in rock's great march forward. He wrote and distributed his own fanzine, Sniffin'Glue, inspiring hundreds of others to follow suit. Eventually, he heeded his own advice and formed his own band. After the wonderfully self-deprecating “Love Lies Limp” (a Sniffin'Glue flexidisc freebie), Alternative TV launched late in '77 with the rudimentary “How Much Longer,” a hilarious barb at identikit hippies and punks. By the end of the decade, Perry had virtually dissolved the song format completely, and the band folded. The coup de grace was the fourth single, “The Force Is Blind,” which had more in common with a hippie-era bad trip vibe than the band's dynamic Action Time Vision manifesto issued just a few months earlier. While this set opts for the long view of Perry's career, it's the earliest sides here — the mesmerising tribal thud of “Splitting in Two,” and the delightfully droll “Life” in particular — that stake the claim for Perry's pivotal role as an early post-punk agitator.