Posted on August 12th, 2015 (3:00 pm) by Sean O'Donnell

The shimmering synthpop of Brooklyn-based Telepathe is alive and well on their latest album Destroyer. With multiple playlist-worthy tracks, Destroyer as a whole could function as the soundtrack of strange beings, slowly materializing from out of a dense fog on a dreary Seattle day. The copious amounts of science fiction that influenced the formation of the record during the band’s hiatus are easily seen in the choice of lyrics – and overall spaceyness – of the 10-track album.

It is clear that in the six long years since 2009’s Dance Mother, the band has been able to fine-tune their M83-esque sound through careful (appropriate) consideration as to how to distinguish themselves from the muddled mass of atmospheric indie pop. Not quite as precise as The XX but not dreamy enough to be Passion Pit, Telepathe has found their niche within 2015’s slate of ‘soft electronica’ yet not ‘pop-punk’ artists by diligently creating a different atmosphere on every track. While they’ve kept their fans waiting with bated breath thanks to what frontman Busy Gangnes describes as “industry and label politics,” Destroyer can easily hold its own.

Melissa Livaudais’ piercing but not overdone vocals positively add to the sonic kaleidoscope which does well for setting the vibe of the electronically-tinged offering. In a word, the record could be described as graceful. A man of many hats, Busy Gangnes - the other half of the duo that is Telepathe – is essential to providing the instrumentation necessary to back up the synth operas of Livaudais, who wastes no time channeling her inner Ellie Goulding on nearly every track of Destroyer. This does get somewhat repetitive at times, particularly on songs like "Damaged Raid" and “Fuck You Up” where Gangnes backs away from his (successful) 40-pedal onslaught and lets Melissa’s distinctly American accent shine. With the help of more than a few electronic variations on the snare drum - obviously too old-school to use on such an album – the duo’s dreamy sound is at its best not on the title track (which is indeed representative of what the shoegaze genre has evolved into after nearly 20 years) but rather hidden within other better - and more well-known - songs like “Throw Away This.”

Telepathe has whetted the appetite of their loyal fanbase by releasing music videos for the first three tracks of Destroyer that themselves fit only into the genre of ‘unclassifiable.’ After a significant period of time, Telepathe has returned – and they are a pedal-pushing player that is an indie force to be reckoned with … if they can follow up their record with a tour that shows their stage presence has evolved as much as their sound has.

With no throwaway songs, the recording is a logical next step for a young avant-pop combo whose sound is still evolving – Destroyer is most definitely an evolution in the right direction, away from the hit or miss, unrefined attack that Dance Mother was. A welcome departure from a history of one-off singles, Destroyer is a full album of steely electro-pop; with it, Telepathe has proven they can compete with bigger names in 2015’s crowded pedal-centric indie pop scene. However, like the annoying fan in front of you Snapchatting every other song to his ‘friends,’ they’ve still got some growing up to do.

Track List:

  1. Destroyer
  2. Drown Around Me
  3. Slow Learner
  4. Damaged Raid
  5. Night's Spell
  6. Hyper Ho
  7. Throw Away This
  8. Someone is Home
  9. Onyx
  10. Fuck You Up
    Purchase at: Amazon | eMusic

    Our Rating

    67 / 100
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