THERE WAS MORE to the vanguard pop-punk band Television than Tom Verlaine, but because he managed to maintain a presence after that influential group's breakup in 1978, it's Verlaine most folks remember.
Guitarist Richard Lloyd, whose dense, sometimes fractious playing contrasted with Verlaine's imagistic fancies, subsequently fell into a web of substance abuse that kept him pretty well out of the public ear until 1985. Now druga d alcohol free LLoyd's come back to his music full force with "Field of Fire," recorded last year in Sweden. It marks a return to vibrant and visceral guitar-based rock that's much closer to Tom Petty and Zeitgeist than to Television's "Marquee Moon."
Lloyd's voice is appropriately full of rough edges and harsh tones, and his virile guitar attack (with help from Keith Patchel) is equally raw and bluesy, but never rigidly so. "Soldier Blue," for instance, is a kinetic panorama of a Vietnam veteran's anger and frustration, not unlike (but just unlike enough) "Born in the U.S.A." "Losin' Anna" has the same raunchy urgency as the mid-'70s Stones, while "Pleading" recalls Television. Like much of the album, "Keep on Dancin'" bristles with explosive solos and roiling power chords. This is an album that sounds good played loud, its abundant hooks inviting listeners to hang on for dear life.
The most compelling cut, though, is "Field of Fire," its rich, powerful textures anchoring no-nonsense verses about Lloyd's own rebirth.
RICHARD LLOYD -- "Field of Fire" (Mistler MLR48); appearing Saturday at the 9:30 Club.