Tinkering around with the sound gear following support from NeoSupervital, Telepathe appear confused and little lost. Gawky and under-fed, Busy Gangnes and Melissa Livaudais look like a pair of girls that were bullied in Degrassi Junior High. They are also painfully hip. It’s this hipster pretence that has found the girls battling for credibility. Starting life as a studio concern, Telepathe’s debut Dance Mother has been met with wide and varied response. Many labelling the album as unfocused and watery, for some it is “musical pixie dust illuminated by a warm neon glow” (Spin Magazine).
It would seem that they are playing to the latter. Returning to a blacked out stage in the cavernous Academy 2, TelepathÃ© cut a striking outline image as they are illuminated by sharp blue back-light. After a brief “Whaddup Dublin?” the Brooklynites open with ‘Chrome’s On It’, an inverted-pop sonic assault. Album highlight ‘Michael’ follows, I don’t know the chap myself but they want to see him ‘suffer violently’.
Having created an album of experimental-electronic-drone-pop, Telepathe are standing behind the tools of their craft; samplers, synthesisers, mixing desk and drum machines. Some may detract from artists dancing and singing behind a desk over layered tracks and samples, but this performance is an honest reflection of an increasingly valid creative process and the likes of Animal Collective might marvel at their guileless delivery.
Besides, this ain’t no karaoke. Using her drum pads, tom and snare Melissa adds some dense, tribal rhythms. Busy’s MC’ing on ‘Devil’s Trident’ is dramatic. Together their vocals are sinister and mantra-like with a spattering of innocence. ‘Lights Go Down’ is an ominous modern day dubby fairytale of being hunted. Banging out repetitive treated string and synthesised guitar sounds over grimy beats, Telepathe live show is entrancing, mesmeric and psychedelic.
David Sitek’s influence is evident on a couple of tracks but his production of Dance Mother would have benefited with oomph of tonight’s performance, of which a quality soundsystem is key. As the show goes on the girls ignore the manufacturer’s instructions and turn the amps up to a chest rattling spinal-tap-eleven. Finishing with the ingenious ‘So Fine’ not a hipster in the place is standing still, leaving us all wanting more. Telepathe have blown away this Tuesday night indie club. It would be a delight to catch them in a 2000 capacity festival tent, dark and very loud.
Photos by Julie Bienvenu.