Well, this is a turn up for the books. Did any of us see this one coming? Not very likely. We have the best indie-pop album of the year on our hands, and it’s by Tellison. Tellison?! Really?! Yes, really. If we had been told, a year or so ago, that the same band who made ‘Contact! Contact!’ would return with a record like this, we would have been hard-pressed to believe it. Then again, this would have been well before the lead single from what would eventually become ‘The Wages of Fear’, the superlative ‘Collarbone’, was unleashed. Believe us when we say it’s not even close to being the best song on the album.
Tellison have always been an immediate band at heart, but this time around they’re wearing it on their collective sleeve. If it was covered up before, now it’s in plain sight. Even before ‘Get On’, a song about the group’s struggles with writer’s block, has finished, the message is clear: after a few years in the wildnerness, the band are back, and they’re not fucking around.
After its stunning opener, a string of potential hit singles follows: the ‘Hamlet’-referencing ‘Say Silence (Heaven And Earth)’; ‘Know Thy Foe’ (which features the biggest chorus on the whole album, and that’s saying something); and ‘Collarbone’ itself - let’s be honest, in a different world, that song would have catapulted them to prominence. In much the same manner as ‘The Wages of Fear’ seems set to, in fact.
Throughout most of the album, things are kept upbeat. There are three notable exceptions: the brilliantly-titled ‘Freud Links The Teeth And The Heart’; ‘Tell It To Thebes’; and ‘My Wife’s Grave Is In Paris’, which, as its title would suggest, isn’t the most cheerful song in the world, but fair dues to Tellison, who manage to turn a song with a chorus of ‘I wish I’d never met you’ into something almost euphoric. This is quite telling: the band are entirely rejuvenated, having changed direction and created what is, without a shadow of a doubt, one of the albums of the year. Nobody could possibly blame them for being so optimistic. They’re in a rich vein of form - hopefully something that ensures we don’t have to wait another four years for album number three.
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Bright-eyed, full-throttle rock songs of the biggest proportions.