Album Review

Telegram - Operator

Other rock debuts this year may well prove more immediately accessible, but few are likely to be as thrillingly original.

Telegram - Operator

Telegram look like a band who’ve travelled through a time tunnel to be here. Attired like they’ve just walked into a vintage shop and undressed the mannequins in the window display, and with hair that instantly makes Black Sabbath spring to mind, aesthetically they’re as retro as their name ought to suggest. On their debut LP, they prove they have the sound to match, as they amalgamate elements of krautrock, proto-punk, glam and psych – and triumph in doing so.

The London foursome have been steadily laying the foundations of ‘Operator’ over their two years or so as a band. Indeed, a quarter of the record is comprised of reworked old material, with swooshing debut single ‘Follow’ and 2014’s ‘Regatta’ leading the pack. The former is every bit as slick as it was when it dropped in 2013, and now an integral component of the realisation of the potential it heralded back then. The latter epitomises Telegram’s genre-fusing genius, frontman Matt Saunders’ distinctive vocals – crucial if not always fully coherent – at their emotive best.

As undeniably suave and sophisticated an album as it is, there’s a controlled chaos coursing through Telegram’s veins at certain points throughout ‘Operator’. Opener ‘Rule Number One’ has a surprising amount of mosh pit potential, likewise ‘Inside Outside’. ‘Aeons’ and ‘Taffy Come Home’, on the other hand, seem decent bets for inducing onstage, intra-band carnage, both featuring maniacal guitar solos.

Telegram haven’t enjoyed – some might say endured – the kind of inescapable hype so many ‘buzz’ bands of their generation have, but that appears to have worked in their favour. They didn’t rush into ‘Operator’, and the compelling finished article is proof that patience pays dividends in the album game. Other rock debuts this year may well prove more immediately accessible, but few are likely to be as thrillingly original.

Tags: Telegram, Reviews, Album Reviews

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