The Telescopes have a rich history of walking the borderline of sheer noise and straight song-forms, never quite committing to either. Hidden Fields, their first record since 2013, finds them channelling wild drones into fairly songish songs, by their standards. A heady rush of devotional sonics, released by Tapete.
7/10 Robin Staff review, 05 August 2015
The miserable Telescopes have a pretty spot on name: channeling the styles of harsh noise and straight up rock, they’ve never quite settled on either sound, but have the precision for both. They’re microscopic voyeurs of genre, able to brace their listener with unkind feedback while steadying the tempo and brooding their way towards a song. Either way, they sound fucking evil on this one, so don’t even worry about it.
‘Hidden Fields’ slices up thirty odd minutes of new material into five tracks, beginning on a slow, feedbacking march of guitar screeching and drum pounces. Where the band have been dreamy and contentedly spaced out in the past, this record sees them in a frenzy, the vocals wearied and desperate amidst the dissonance. “Absence” begins on a trembling, structureless drone before a vocal line dares to punctuate it; its long hibernation from percussion saps the record from all the energy it built up in its intro, everything oscillating but a mild-mannered bassline (one of the record’s only signs of warmth). As with the Telescopes, it’s a matter of flatlining your song until no one believes it could ever come back before striking anew, and so the sudden industrial burst of “In Every Sense” feels legitimately shocking.
Like a diorama of shoegaze, “In Every Sense” suggests prettiness in its muffled chord changes, but then rests on furiously played guitar dirge. For the most of ‘Hidden Fields’, the droning, caterwauling chaos wins out, but there are moments where little sparks of beauty crack through. The Telescopes are kind of like a dystopia movie where only one person is speaking out.
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