Telepathe “Dance Mother” album review by Kaitlin Perry
Telepathe’s latest album, Dance Mother, produced by Dave Sitek of TV on the Radio, is a musing mix of experimental pop, poetic recitation, electronics and percussion. Consisting of only nine tracks, the album is more transportive than dance-y.
I listened to this album while lying in the sun in my backyard, and it made the time fly by, which probably has something something to do with the tempo and the way the lyrics are presented. They’re not so much sung as they are recited and the beat is not so much head bopping as it is thought popping.
At first listen I judged the band as “trying too hard” and sounding like Hot Chip minus the catchiness and upbeat ambience. The first track on Dance Mother, “So Fine,” is a bit “eh” and the second track, “Chrome’s On It,” is too repetitive and needed a more sexual beat to match the lyrics. It felt as though the so-so experimental music was put to the seemingly boring poetry. The vocals in “In Your Line” are reminiscent of an electronic-sounding Scout Niblett mixed with The Blow and a less angsty young Conor Oberst (via his Commander Venus days), yet it lacked ingenuity.
As soon as “Can’t Stand It” began to play in my headphones, my negative opinion of Telepathe’s music was redirected. The track finally meshed both vocals and instruments, the lack of which was very distracting in the first few songs. It seemed that the band had finally finished introducing new listeners to their sound and decided to get serious. “Michael,” which I presume has a little something to do with sex, has the band proclaiming “God is watching, you know you’re a star.” Pop! There came a thought. Never have I ever thought of sex in that way, and I’m hoping I never do again, which means the lyric did what all lyrics should do – it provoked some thinking and it was a tad disturbing.
If I were to describe “Trilogy,” the second to last song on Dance Mother, I would say it is dim and grim. With its trembling wind instruments and brass horns being blown, it comes across as somewhat chaotic, yet it flowed experimentally and maintained my interest for the entire six minutes and 59 seconds that it played.
Though the last track, a song about being drugged until death, was a bit of a weak ending to an impressive buildup of tracks before it, my feelings of satisfaction were not deterred. The album starts off a bit slow and debatable, but it becomes progressively darker as Telepathe’s lyrics get deeper.
Standout track: “Can’t Stand It” “Can’t Stand It”
Sat. June 13 Los Angeles, CA @ The Smell w/ Nite Jewel, Abe Vigoda