Music Review: Telepathe – Dance Mother

 

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The prospect of up and coming electronic duo Busy Gangnes and Melissa Livaudais, aka Telepathe, teaming up with members of TV on the Radio and !!! to produce their debut album is certainly a promising one.  Well, mainly the prospect of TVotR and !!! teaming up.  But to Telepathe’s credit, they not only carry their own weight, but obscure any outside help with their own ability.  Dance Mother is far from faultless, but is nevertheless a promising debut and will likely earn Telepathe some well-deserved attention.

Unfortunately, things get off to a rough start.  Opening tracks “So Fine” and “Chrome’s On It” are catchy enough endeavors, but suffer from generic sound effects that give an uninspired initial impression.  Furthermore, the cold and seemingly unenthusiastic vocals are initially off-putting, although they work better after getting a feel for how they fit into the album.

However, one of the more interesting aspects of Dance Mother is that it seems to mature with nearly every track.  This is very apparent with the third track, “Devil’s Trident”, which introduces the first interesting beat of the album and mumbled lyrics that offer much more cause for interest than the previous two songs.  There are still generic sound effects plaguing parts of the song, but they are much more seldom and can be forgiven on this track.  “In Your Line” continues the positive trend set by “Devil’s Trident” by offering a staggering groove and eliminating the cheesy effects, as well as offering the first real evidence of any help from TVotR.  “Lights Go Down” initially seems to be a step down from the previous two tracks, but twisting vocals soon emerge with a variety of effects to add interest.  It’s not a terribly deep song, and is the ugly duckling of the album, but is still fun and doesn’t detract from the album.

Although the first 5 songs of the album show for the most part a remarkable speedy maturing of the young band, “Can’t Stand It” introduces a drastic stylistic change that completely changes the complexion of the remainder of the album.  The song aims for M83-range heights of entrancement and aloft vocals, and although it doesn’t quite achieve that high, it remains an impressive effort and is a clear stand-out on the album.  “Michael” continues the M83 inspired trend, although this time they do a better job of injecting their own mark into the sound, with poppier vocals and quicker musically variety.  On “Can’t Stand It” and “Michael” more than any songs, the vocals are noticeably void of emotion, which is something that needs to be improved upon on the hopefully to come sophomore album.

The second to last track, “Trilogy: Breath Of Life, Crimes And Killings, Threads And Knives” opens with a plodding beat, wandering synths and mellow vocals.  The song takes its time unfolding, but there are enough folds to be engaging.  It’s far from the strongest work on the album but maintains the momentum of the last two tracks.  Unfortunately the final track “Drugged” squanders that momentum with a meandering beat and an uneventful melody.  It’s an unfortunate sizzle to an album that should have gone out with a bang.

Dance Mother has too many moments of that I-could-have-done-this-in-garage-band sound to be considered a great electronic record, but there are also enough moments of entrancing beauty to be considered a good electronic record, and a very impressive debut from a promising duo.

Final Score: 7.9/10

Highlights: Devil’s Trident, Can’t Stand It, Michael

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