MATERIAL ISSUE - Telecommando Americano

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It's hard not to listen to Telecommando Americano and feel a sense of loss, given that guitarist/songwriter Jim Ellison committed suicide shortly after completing the recording of these 11 songs. Technically, the record would have been demos for Material Issue's fourth album, but they are all that he left behind, and they demonstrate that he had a gift for both jangly and fuzzy power pop hooks. No matter how good these are, there's a sense that Ellison took his life before he reached his full potential, and that's really what makes Telecommando Americano so sad -- he had the gift, but he hadn't completely mastered it yet. [Telecommando Americano also features the trio's eponymous 1987 debut EP, which is the first time the record has been available on compact disc.]