Scoped OutTHE TELESCOPES
THE FALCON, LONDON
IN this humid hell-hole of a venue, snuck bizarrely in the back of the tavern's toilets, my glasses mist up repeatedly, and I'm forced to remove them. This means I perceive The Telescopes only dimly, through a myopic haze. But it scarcely maflers, as there's nothing here I haven't seen a lOO times before: washed-out faces hiding behind tangled black mops of hair, and the same rent-a-happening op art slide projections that every wig-out band in London falls back on.
And on the aural front, The Telescopes are precedented, to say the least But even though they don't blaze any trails, The Telescopes are very far from trailing in anyone's wake. This is a band that wields considerable bulk, at their best coming over like the colossal aggregate of the ideas and effects of Loop, the Mary Chain and the Valentines. Despite initial scepticism, I'm eventually not so much won over as run over; I'm pressed right into the ground.
Like so many bands, The Telescopes at first err on the side of urgency. Loop's "Soundhead" is the obvious prototype for songs like "Kick The Wall" and "7th# Disaster": stampedes of sound, wit a cyclonic wah wah guitar like God drawing in his breath in disapproval or a vicious hoover sucking out the contents of your lower intestine. Terrific stuff, but Loop have already left behind the garage for the gaseous.
But The Telescopes are already beginning to discover for themselves the more of ponderousness, of songs that brood and maIinger and suck you into their mire rather than kick out jams. Both "This Planet" and "Nothing" achieve critical mass (in both the astrophysical and journalistic sense of the word), and sink a gaping hole in the space-time fabric down which the listener falls for century after century. "Nothing" just seems to hang in the air and suffer,its a real drag, has you oozing down a S - Bend to Heaven, rimming the anus of God. And then there's "Cold", a cavernous, sloooooow-f***ing, long-time-a-dyin' ballad, the sound of a heart sinking like a lead schooner.
The Telescopes are a very find band, one that can only get further engorged, and eventually find its own path. For sure, the coordinates are a little too mapped out it's all a bit consensual, a bit 1988, but a period of hiatus is the inevitable sequel to any phase of creative hyperactivity.
C'mon, y 'all - take it to the brink.
Photo: Stephen Sweet
Originally appeared in Melody Maker May 6, 1989. Copyright © Melody Maker