The Tornados

Telstar: The Sound of the Tornados

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Produced by the legendary and enigmatic Joe Meek, this album is a showcase for both the artistry and limitations of Meek's productions. "Telstar," the first British number one single in America, is the obvious gem here. The organ sound is both extremely compressed and expanding at the same time. There is a very spiritual base to the song and yet there is also a cheesy aspect. (the male chorus of "ahs" toward the end of the song) The combination of artfulness and kitsch of "Telstar" typifies the best and worst of the record. "Love and Fury" works quite well as a "Telstar" clone featuring a similar sounding organ and a male chorus copying the pleasant, sing-along melody. On the other hand, "Theme from A Summer Place" comes across more as corn than art, even with birds chirping and echoey lead guitar lines. Listeners won't be tempted to forget Percy Faith's version after hearing this one. "Jungle Fever" ranks with Meek's more unique productions, though. It's lion-in-the-jungle feel could be taken from some B grade movie, but it is somehow strangely affecting. Like the best of Joe Meek's productions, there is an amateurish quality, yet also a uniqueness and search for meaning through the art of sound.