THE VINYL REVIVAL’s tagline, “a film about why the tables are turning again,” is a bit misleading. This UK produced documentary (by Pip Piper) is definitely about the resurgence of record stores and is long on quotes about them, but it’s short on substance. And running time. At only 43 minutes, there’s not much to see – or hear – on this here disc.
On the plus side, The Vinyl Revival presents musicians like Nick Mason of Pink Floyd and Phil Selway of Radiohead talking about why they like it that record stores haven’t yet gone the way of the dodo bird. There are also some younger folk chiming in (though they don’t really add much to the proceedings) and numerous others like record store owners and clerks to pad things out. But the documentary plays more like endless quotes making basically the same point over and over than it does as a serious look at the history of the record business and how it ended up requiring a record revival for its very survival. I’d like to hear more about how vinyl went from the only format, to one of many, to a dying format and then back to being the number one way fans enjoy the music they like most. In other words, how did we get here?
None of this is to say I didn’t learn anything by watching The Vinyl Revival. I actually learned a few things: 1) Record stores in the UK are just too clean and clinical looking (at least the ones on display here). 2) They don’t seem to play music in record stores (at least the ones on display here). And 3) Before being interviewed for this documentary, that guy from Portishead should have trimmed his nose hair because they’re not attractive (at least the ones on display here).
All humor aside, the DVD release of The Vinyl Revival was scheduled to coincide with the original April date for Record Store Day 2020, which makes sense, release-wise. Movie-wise, this is more of a made-for-TV, hour-long-with-commercials special than a feature length documentary deserving DVD release. It feels more like something that would play on cable TV between highlights of Glastonbury or Coachella, not something you’d purchase to watch at home. That being said, it might make a good stocking stuffer for the vinyl nut in your family. (Not that anyone’s looking for such items in April.) The Vinyl Revival is interesting to watch once but not anything you’d be likely to watch again. As for extras on the DVD? There aren’t any. You literally get 43 minutes of content, a “special booklet,” and that’s it. And that’s it for this review, too. No extras, no nothing. — Marsh Gooch
2/5 (Wienerworld WNRD 2605, 2020)