[sic] Magazine

Telepathe – Dance Mother

How does one go with bridging the gap between too cool and too clever? Few do so with such style as the kings of the alternative scene. We’re talking Dave Sitek, the figure behind TV On The Radio, ever growing in success and the recognition they’ve always deserved. And despite not being the voice behind it all, his production duties have been sought after by many acts attempting to replicate the grand sound he conjures when in the studio. Before ‘Dance Mother’, Telepathe sounded relatively bare, with the spark but nothing to meet it. And then they hired Dave Sitek to work with them on their debut album. And their music’s suddenly become ambitious, sparse in ideas and buzzing with a heavy atmosphere that sounds absolutely huge.

And you hear it most so in ‘Devil’s Trident’, the flame in the candle, the centre of an album so lush in warmth. ‘Dance Mother’ is at its warmest when this track builds into a beautiful beast, consistently defying your expectations. You don’t expect it to progress any more than it already has, but it does. And when you untangle it all, the only comparison you can draw structurally is that of TV On The Radio. Let’s not claim Dave Sitek to be the only brain behind the brilliance but when this record peaks in the way that it does, you can’t help but think he had a massive say in it all.

That’s not to say Telepathe never had the potential to make stunning music. ‘Chrome’s On It’ was always a clever thing. Infectious, challenging but with direction, it carries the momentum the Brooklyn music scene’s developed and transforms it into a succinct, four-minute pop gem. Openly sunny but with a dark twist, the rest of ‘Dance Mother’ continues a trend of muddling twists and turns, swinging between Earthly seasons but constantly forming itself through a completely un-human vibe. The production’s fantastic; ‘In Your Line’s tribal drums and minimal keyboard lines sound measly in comparison to the rest of the record initially but again, it builds and builds. The ambitious, 80’s-inspired opener ‘So Fine’ combines misty synth-led melodies with pounding drums, in similar fashion to the perhaps more electronically-inclined ‘Michael’ which none the less, is another highlight.

Ok, the album has its dips; ‘Lights Go Down’ lacks spirit, ‘Trigoly:’ has its moments but acts too big for its own boots. But the rest? For the majority of the time, Telepathe do very well to bridge that gap between clever and cool. They might appear far too arty for you in promo shots and interviews but in their debut arrives an atmosphere that’s just thrown itself into the limelight and they suddenly sound genuine in their psycho-cool sonics. Between the stop-start rhythms, behind the mysterious image comes a sound that really means something. So much can develop from here onwards.



TV On The Radio