Telepathe use synths, keyboards, a drum-machine and little else to create an electronic, psychedelic rollercoaster, which, if asthmatic in its delivery, teases the listener in its Dave Sitek stamped, productive restraint.
The tracks are too cool to break a sweat, indicating the likelihood of a static live show full of knowing nods, rather than the freaky dancing, which, in truth, could accompany this show, given the right drugs of course. And the album is rooted in the druggy. Its trance-like qualities come from slow rhythms, which pulse rather than shimmer.
Early highlight `Trilogy: Breath Of Life' induces an out-of-body-experience with its beats that recall Moloko circa `Tight Sweater', and its otherworldly `oohs' and `aahs'. But Telepathe are more than like listening to the crowd at a firework display.
It is in the restraint that they find beauty. The best writers know that less is often more and any lengthy wig-out would here seem flabby. This is a tight, but lazy sounding album and that is its art.
The detractions come in the lack of memorable tracks, rather, there are just memorable moments, certain twists and extracts are well executed, but few tracks see that promise through to a meaningful conclusion. With a brutally honest condensing of the album, there would be a great EP's worth of material, which over album has been spun out with tribal-trance electronica against an ambient-techno backdrop.
`Michael' is all drum-machine and effortless guitar-riff. It recalls the Joy Formidable in its hypnotic vocal cadence and loop, which peculiarly point the track in the direction of alt. pop. Gang Gang Dance are a valid comparison at this point. `Lights Go Down' is beats and sounds like Glass Candy if they'd embraced dub-step rather than 80s disco.
`Can't Stand It' introduces a synth that could or could not be distorted gospel, a stark bass-line and Cocteau Twins ethereality, which can further be heard in parts of `Chrome's On It'. The smile-inducing refrain of "You know it could be so much better ..." from `Can't Stand It' rings poignant, depending on the definition of `better'. If `better' would be to remove this album's coquettish beguilement for the sake of commercial success, then it would be a long way from `better', but if it were to give a understated, sweeping, shoegaze-like classic as it promises throughout, then that would be `better' with a capital B. Like a grand-staircase entry to some ballroom, `Dance Mother' sways only gently at its centre. Pretty and dignified in its isolation, but not what it could have been.