Last time Brooklyn duo Telepathe played in Ireland they had the misfortune of being pushed to one of the peripheral stages at Oxegen, which led to them being greeted by an audience of about 20 people. It was harsh on an act who had just released the excellent Dance Mother, a captivating, hypnotic set of minimal avant-pop produced by the in-demand Dave Sitek. Tonight is a different story, with a much larger, more receptive crowd and a great deal more anticipation.
Local hero Patrick Kelleher’s support set is well-received, with recent single ‘Contact Sports’ illustrative of an off-kilter, magpie-like pop sensibility similar to that of current critics’ darling Ariel Pink. Expect more critical attention coming his way.
Critical attention is certainly one thing Telepathe haven’t lacked for in their short career, but Busy Gangnes and Melissa Livaudis still have a charmingly unassuming air about them, almost sneaking on to the stage unnoticed before a delayed applause greets them. Their live shows tend to be divisive: sublime to some, amateurish to others. The amount of live instrumentation is fairly minimal, but not completely absent, with Livaudis’ at times tribalistic percussion proving a highlight of tonight’s show.
‘Chrome’s On It’ makes for the most engaging of openers, with hypnotic vocals and echoing synths drawing us in, before the duo get the crowd further on-side by pulling off that neat trick of subtly getting everyone to move closer to the stage. ‘In Your Line’ and ‘Lights Go Down’ are underpinned by the aforementioned rhythmic percussion and low-end so deep you can feel it vibrating upwards through your feet. Yet the sound is problematic, and it becomes particularly evident on ‘Devil’s Trident’: on record it’s their finest moment – swelling and malevolent-sounding – but here things sound badly out-of-tune, and despite Gangnes’ mantra-like vocals it completely fails to take off. It’s followed by the similarly anti-climactic ‘So Fine’: pleasant enough, but with a distinct sense of going-through-the-motions about it.
Just when you start hoping they can regain momentum and turn it around, it’s over: we don’t have our stopwatch out, but their set certainly doesn’t go far over the half-hour mark tonight. Ultimately disappointing stuff then, but they’re evidently a hit-and-miss live act: let’s put this down to an off-night.
Photos by Shane Farrell.