How to Make Friends and Influence People had shown brief glimpses of what Terrorvision were capable of, but on the whole it was relatively scrappy. It appeared that the four lads from Bradford had shot their bolt and that they were never going to amount to anything particularly special. Then came Regular Urban Survivors.
Opening track “Enteralterego” comes galloping over the horizon in a cascade of riffs and drags the rest of the album roaring in after it. Yes there were guitars, and Terrorvison came from Yorkshire, but this was a far cry from Britpop, Regular Urban Survivors rocked mightily and it’s choruses were big and plentiful. This was pop-metal and it was a hell of a lot of fun.
Within the loose concept of an action movie soundtrack (check out the movie-poster style artwork), Terrorvision were able to rattle through thirteen almost faultless tracks of material which tackled such everyday subjects such as mafia hits, getaway cars, hiding corpses, alien invasion and not being able to pay off your gambling debts. The songs were fun, often based around bouncy repeated riffs and seemingly recorded with an audience of sweaty rock fans bellowing every word back at the band in mind. Lyrically Terrorvision were jokers, but they obviously took their music totally seriously. Tony Wright could actually sing rather than bellow or screech, Mark Yates was master of the deceptively simple riff, Leigh Marklew was a strangely funky bass player and was responsible for much of the band’s commercial edge and Shutty is one of the few notable drummers that Britain produced in the 90s.
It’s difficult for me to choose favourite tracks because every song here is vital to the feel of the album and the album is best experienced as a whole rather than individual numbers. Nevertheless, “Perseverance” was the hit single and is probably the song that newcomers would recognise, “Conspiracy” is built around a sneaky riff and proves that rock bands can assimilate new production methods if their producer is smart enough (Gil Norton does a splendid job throughout), “Bad Actress” temporarily makes way for a finger-picked acoustic and a sweeping orchestra (and even then it’s backed up with big-riffs) and “Mugwump” makes good use of a horn section for a great closing track. Actually I could go into raptures about any of the thirteen tracks, they’re all great.
Regular Urban Survivors proved that Terrorvision were an act with real staying power and one of the most fun and outright enjoyable bands to come out of England in the 90s. While they may never really got the respect that they deserved, Terrorvision’s boozy, good natured riff-rock flew in the face of prettier and less entertaining British guitar bands of the era and for that we should be thankful. Some things never go out of fashion, because they were never in fashion in the first place.