Out of SightTHE TELESCOPES
THE DUCHESS OF YORK
FLIPPING weird one this. Edging towards the front of the steaming and teeming venue, someone tells me that The Telescopes's singer has lost his voice, so the band will be playing "a set of instrumentals". A wail of cacophonous feedback fills the air, punctuated by a monotonous but nevertheless compelling drum rhythm, an opening technique used to great effect by Joy Division circa '79 and Band of Susans circa '88. It pulls you in, great tentacles of eletric noise enveloping the somewhat bemused crowd with an intensity that borders on the hypnotic. They're sculpting now, lead guitar lines snaking around the tumultuous sound, booming bass lines underpinning an excursion towards the outer limits of the rock structure.
The bass player keeps his back to the audience throughout but I manage to sneak a peek at his face. His eyes are half-closed. He looks, shall we say, elsewhere. He places his bass against the amp, it roars feedback, the band play on. The frontman looks around the assembled faces. He sees awe, wonder confusion. The bass player's gone now.
They've been driving at the one "song" for 17 minutes. And off, that's it. Brilliant. It's obvious who The Telescopes have been listening to - early Spacemen, Loop, Blow Up, wilder Reed and so on-but the sense of danger and almost sinister nerviness inherent in their music gives it a compulsive edge and edginess. Thunderous.
Originally appeared in Melody Maker August 12, 1989. Copyright © Melody Maker