music reviews : Telefon Tel Aviv – Immolate Yourself

reviewed by : Paul Morin

released by : BPitch Control on 20 January 2009
data : 3rd full length album . 10 tracks . 46:19 run time . www.telefontelaviv.com
genre : synthpop, IDM, ambient

The opening track, “Birds”, starts off slowly from the runway and then crashes into a drowsy, repeated wall of sound.  The album continues, confronting you with ambient washes of electronica that mix into straight-ahead syth-pop-topia.  You may suddenly think to yourself, “This isn’t the Telefon Tel Aviv I used to know”.  While all of the songs maintain a dark narcotic feel, the tracks shift between slow and spacey pieces and hyper-spastic dance workouts.  The result is a push and pull effect; you get into a mood, get excited, and then the mood is gone.  As you listen you may begin to mellow out for a bit, only to be awoken by throbbing rhythms calling your feet back to the dance floor.  The pieces may not fit together perfectly but the individual tracks work alone just fine and will more than make you forget any issues with the pacing.  The lead “Birds” is hypnotizing.  “Helen of Troy” is carefully constructed and shimmers with life at the chorus.  “Stay Away From Being Maybe”, with it’s blissed-out keyboards, seems as if it’s lifted straight from the climax of an 80s film.  You can practically see the tears of joy running down the main character’s cheek as the song plays.  The ambient pieces seem like filler but are complete entities in and of themselves, having plenty of interesting moments that make you turn your head sideways wondering how they came up with them.  About half of the tracks are instrumental and when the vocals do appear, they usually remain whispered and buried in the mix. Overall, they fit well within the context of each song.  None of this is breaking new ground. It’s all familiar stuff you’ve heard before, much of it decades ago but TTA does it very well. When the album spikes up out of its own headiness, it reveals some of the best electronica being created today.  Easily an early highlight of 2009.

recommended tracks : Birds, Helen of Troy, Stay Away From Being Maybe
if you like you may like : Iris, Junior Boys, Depeche Mode, M83
grade : overall 8 – music 8 – lyrics 7 – recording quality 9

from the February Issue of Auxiliary Magazine

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