The dark cloud hanging over Immolate Yourself, the third release by electronic duo Telefon Tel Aviv was the death of founding member Charles Cooper just days after the album’s release in January of this year. It’s chilling to open the band’s website, only to find a black screen with Cooper’s name and the dates his life began and ended underneath, no album mention, no links, nothing. Heartbreaking testimonies can be read by fans and friends on their myspace page and it’s unsure whether remaining founding member Joshua Eustis will continue the band alone. As for the music, there’s little point in trying to decode songs on this album to search for references to Cooper’s death as the vocals are mostly quiet, muffled and used more as an instrument in the soundscape to good effect.
Nonetheless, you feel a cold dying starkness throughout this album and the sad thing is that it overpowers any attempt at warmth, which leaves it musically, a difficult listen at times.
There’s no denying the inventiveness and studio talent of this group, but whereas other experimental electronic groups reward you during the second half of a stuttering tune when the loose beats come together or with prolonged listens, Immolate… falls short for simply not letting go of the stutters and robotic feeling. That said, there are some nice moments when the vocals take over and it starts to sound somewhat pleasant. Unfortunately, it seems that this record will only serve to satisfy connoisseurs of the genre.