thu 20/02/2020

CD: Thee Telepaths – The Velvet Night | reviews, news & interviews

CD: Thee Telepaths – The Velvet Night

CD: Thee Telepaths – The Velvet Night

The psych-rock four piece's debut is a carefully crafted recipe for success

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Kettering might not be the first place you’d associate with spaced-out psych-rock, but neither are Croydon or Rugby and they gave us Loop and Spacemen 3 respectively. Maybe it’s something to do with the need for escape that can make such prosaic surroundings the backdrop for wide-screen exploratory escape. Perhaps there’s just sod-all else to do there. Whatever the reason, four-piece psychedelic rock band Thee Telepaths have a sound that, while not original, manages to dwarf expectation by virtue of being pretty much perfectly executed. 

The points of reference are what you might expect: the aforementioned Spacemen 3 and Loop, elder statesmen including The Silver Apples and Suicide, plus a liberal sprinkling of relative newcomers, most notably Wooden Shjips, it’s the particular blend that Thee Telepaths have come across that makes The Velvet Night so warm and inviting. 

In fact, such is the effect of the layered, lush textures, this is a very easy album to lose yourself in – a fact helped along enormously by a keen sense of pacing. The whole is broken into three movements, “Alpha”, “Epsilon” and “Delta”, each comprised of separate pieces that blend seamlessly into a coherent and compelling listen. 

“Alpha” is the five-part warm welcome – organ and fuzz wrapping themselves around simple-key structures while circular bass riffs offer a grounded groove. So far, so familiar. However, just as weights and measures are the difference between a soufflé and a soggy mess, Thee Telepaths have got the balance just right here. The lively synth lines push through and lift the top end beautifully and bring welcome melodic counterpoints to the considerable bottom end. 

“Epsilon” is next and, while the three-piece suite ebbs and flows, it is a spikier and heavier prospect than its predecessor. Part 1 owes a debt to the spirit of Goth and for that alone should be saluted. Then, by the time we have worked through the relentless riffing of parts two and three, we are into some very heavy territory. One suspects this is the source of Thee Telepaths’ reputation for incendiary live shows. 

“Delta” begins with a more straight-down-the-line approach, offering some well-judged rhythmic respite. There are moments throughout, but here in particular, where the psychedelic vestments, swathed in decaying delay, fall away for long enough to reveal a surprising capacity for uncomplicated and emotive pop hooks hidden in the psychedelic jungle. 

The Velvet Night doesn’t present us with a brand new sound; it doesn’t reinvent the musical landscape, nor does it try. It doesn't have to. It's a debut of rare style and finesse from a band who have perfected the recipe. And personally, I’d take a perfect soufflé over snail porridge any day.

@jahshabby

There are moments where the psychedelic vestments fall away to reveal a surprising capacity for uncomplicated and emotive pop hooks

rating

Editor Rating: 
4
Average: 4 (1 vote)

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