CBGB may have closed down a decade ago but four fine fellows from London are bringing its sexy sounds back big time. They picked a rather fitting name, retro but straightforward enough, they deliver riffs as sharp as bullets but they are much more than that : hot as hell, as glam as the New York Dolls and as cocky as the Voidoids, they possess a special raw energy that defines their sound both live and on record.
While the four piece has not had much hype yet, probably for the best, they have been working hard for the last couple of years, practicing their skills on the road and are savvy performers. Their chemistry and musicianship is impressive. Matt Saunders’ manly vocals are distinctive and fit perfectly in their abrasive glam protopunk range which may sound reductive but is actually a riveting combination. They may be able to follow in the footsteps of their friends The Horrors whose emulating ascendancy has contributed to the emergence of some of the most interesting current bands. (TOY, Temples, The Voyeurs...)
Operator is a record that stands out, it is instant enough to lure the listener, diverse enough to keep the latter’s attention and clever enough to stimulate in the long run. “Rule Number One” is a very efficient opener that stops you in your tracks, you have stepped on the devil’s turf.
“Follow” remains as swift as ever after its release over two years ago and in the same vein, “Inside/Outside” and “We’ve Got A Friend” epitomize the essence of the band : electric and voluptuous. “Telegramme” is the pinnacle on the record, a disarming tune in its structure and intensity that delightfully catches you off guard. Likewise, “Folly” makes a flawless ending, so loaded with energy that it gets your adrenaline running high. They could not have picked a better song to play as a final at their gigs.
The album has other numbers which are almost as catchy but one notch more mellow, yet very evocative, like “Under The Night Time”.
Is the song “Godiva’s here” an open reference to The Velvet Underground? (other than the tale of the legendary Coventry lady) There is a bit of Lou Reed in their frontman and their androgynous drummer Jordan Cook could be a 21st century Moe Tucker. (When VU started, people were taken aback by this girl who looked like a boy).
Telegram are hardworking creatively and effortlessly cool sartorially , a sound balance for this promising band that just penned one of the most slaying and ambitious debut records of the past few years. Let’s hope they keep walking on the wild side as they are London’s new rough diamond.To be played at maximum volume...
Operator was released on GramGram on February 5th 2016.