Telephone

Automatic

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If you were buying pop music during the late '80s, then you'll immediately understand where Telephone (led by former Dandy Warhol Eric Hedford) is coming from. The band is a guitar-synthesizer-bass-drums quartet that uses sci-fi synth effects and big, dense guitar sounds with equal enthusiasm, and Hedford's vocals are declamatory and charmingly unaffected, and are frequently layered on top of each other in blissfully pretty harmonies even as the guitars churn angrily underneath. Hooks like these come either from preternatural talent or from long and hard experience; Hedford definitely has the latter and may also be blessed with the former. Highlight tracks include "Automatic," which sounds quite a bit like a (slightly) warmer version of vintage New Order; the sweetly tuneful "Mystery Girl" (which features not only "bah bah bah bahs" but also "doot doot doot doos"); the downright punky "Pt. 2" of "The Visitor, Pt. 1 & 2"; and the brilliant "Goodbye," which is built on a Phil Spector-ish drum and tambourine part. Also notice the subtly elegant jangle pop guitar picking on "In December." Very highly recommended.

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