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Out of Sight

THE TELESCOPES
NOTRE DAME HALLS, LONDON
The Notre Dame Halls are a strange setting for any band to play in. I'm told they're built in the old crypt of the Notre Dome church, the interior of which was decorated by surrealist film director Jean Codeau. They resemble a scout HQ with their wood-panelled walls, and the tables are set out as if for the local Women's Institute coffee morning.
spacer The Telescopes come on to "Mother Of Pearl", singer Steve armed with a set of manic maracas and his cute mop top, which blasts into the audience with a great electric-shock jolt of tremendous power. This is followed by their first single for Creation, "Precious Little" - like a sweet taste of broken glass - and "Feel To Feel" which simply bursts. Every song tonight is a coruscated, shimmering heat-dusk; a humid humming jungle of sweat-sticky rhythms.
spacer "The Perfect Needle" (from the "Taste" album) is awesome, a swollen mantra bathed in a lush green light scalding the band into silhouettes on stage. "It hurts too much to be where you are," sings Steve and this desperate yearning, this love lost, distorts into a spiteful and bitter chant - "I've got the perfect needle for you'" - while Jo, looking for all the world like a petite bone china Belinda Carlisle, plays a snarling, scowling guitar.
spacer "Soul Full of Tears", is an arc of pure energy, glistening like a fragile-as-frost halo in a crisp winter morning. "The Sleepwalk" fades to white, leaving great ruins of sound shivering and quivering from the ceiling. Their current single, "Everso", is freed from its vinyl shackles and turned into a swirling merry-go-round. The delivery seems almost off-the-cuff which gives it an awkward nonchalance and depth that is incredibly thrilling. They finish with the prolonged matchstrike of "Pure Sweetest Ocean", which eventually ignites into a sulphur-swathed epic, guitars ringing out like a perverse waltz.
spacer After the concert, Steve tells me this was the second bad date on the tour. The band didn't have a proper soundcheck, and he didn't feel they got into it. I feel a sense of disappointment because, for the hour or so the band gave us pleasure, they weren't experiencing that same excitement. Still, The Telescopes are now as near to perfect as damn it. They can only go forward.
spacer Soon to be a major motion picture.
MICHAEL BONNER

Picture: Greg Freeman

Originally appeared in Melody Maker December 15, 1990. Copyright © Melody Maker

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