Ripped straight from the annals of the punk and krautrock heydays, UK foursome Telegram brings a decided nastiness to the table with their guitar-powered rock. Punchy, driving and just a little polished, the group delivered a strong debut album, Operators, in early February, and followed that up with a shaggy single, “You Said You Saw Us,” that speaks to the sonic promise of the band moving forward.
Telegram’s sound is rooted in the early influences of English punk, accompanied by a musical sophistication that manifests itself in the careful songwriting and instrumental interplay. The rhythm section, Oli Paget-Moon on bass and Jordan Cook on drums, does an apt job keeping the sound tight and compact around the dual guitars of Matt Saunders and Pip Stakem. On Operators, the hooks are catchy and lyrical, and the distortion is not overwhelming. For a group that relies on the strength of its instrumentals, the cleaner guitars allow the full display of talent and thoughtful musicality that might be otherwise obscured.
To date, Telegram has built its reputation on a steady diet of shows in the UK, becoming known for its raucous live energy. The group was able to capture that same verve on Operators in a way that comes across as simultaneously free-flowing and structured. The instrumentals shine, blending Saunders’ vocals into the fray. “Aeons” and “Taffy Come Home” are notable for the frenzied guitar solos that course through their backgrounds, screaming along frantically but never out of control. “Regatta” showcases Saunders’ ability to break away from straight punk sounds and bring his distinct élan to the forefront. The most recent single, “You Said You Saw Us,” is gritty and bombastic. It pops from the get-go, and while noticeably “produced,” it falls into the sweet spot of blended genres and instrumental balance that Telegram has made its calling card.
As the group begins its swing through North America, they’ll have an opportunity to convert the masses into believers of the next generation of UK’s rock invasion.»
– Charles Trowbridge
*Telegram plays Dec. 10 at Crystal Ballroom, opening for The Dandy Warhols. Get tickets here.