The Telescopes bring in 2021 with the 12th long player of their 30 year career and it’s as dark as the world right now.
Ignore the album title for now, turn the volume up loud, close your eyes and you now have the perfect soundtrack to a post-Brexit, Covid raging dystopia.
The opener, This is Not a Dream is chillingly appropriate. Sawing guitars and a liberal work out for the effects pedals. Stephen Lawrie’s vocals set low in the mix, barely audible above the rest of the band.
This we would think is deliberate. They were the same live when we were lucky enough to see them play towards the end of 2019. It’s a technique that seems to give the songs additional power.
There are no compromise, no half measures. And then some. Every single note, every beat, every squeal from the guitars will have your bones feeling the effects, even on the slower, more considered numbers such as Mesmerised.
But it’s when the band is on full out assault mode that they really shine. The pounding monotonous drum beat on This Train is designed to pummel you into submission. So, too the title track has a similar bass drum thumping away all the way through. Screaming guitars wander in and out, but the drums just keep marching on, doing their thing and stirring up the revolution.
You kind of know what you’ll get with The Telescopes and this album probably isn’t very different in style to more recent releases. On the other hand, this is an album best consumed in one sitting. It’s not a collection of songs, it’s a whole thing.
Penultimate number, We See Magic and we are Neutral, Unnecessary, sees the band cranking up the heat before bowing out with the short, two minute finale that is Haul Away the Anchor. The album ends with this maudlin, quiet keyboard track accompanied by the sound of seabirds.
And we’re left to ponder what we have just experienced.
Songs of Love and Revolution is out now on Tapete Records and available from all the usual places.