Moving away from the dub-centricity of their debut album, San Francisco groove-mongers Tussle explore the Krautier side of instrumental rhythm rock on their second full-length outing Telescope Mind. And in referencing Krautrock we're talking specifically about the Motorik style, of the forward-rushing feeling of racing down the "Autobahn" with Kraftwerk or soaring the astral highways with Neu!. The Kraut influence is most apparent on the obviously titled "Kindermusik" which burbles along placidly on analog synth squiggles until the rhythm section shimmies in, sounding like what Cluster might have had they any booty-shaking tendencies at all (which they didn't) and the airiness of the keyboard passages conjures images of Neu! jamming with Bootsy Collins on bass. Overall this outing is somewhat more electronic sounding than their previous work -- while the two live drum kits are still organic and huge in the mix, the bass and other instruments are manipulated and effected to blend with keyboards and samplers, the better to blend the sounds so the ability to distinguish between organic and electronic becomes irrelevant. Yet Tussle also explores other angles than the always dancefloor-friendly material of their first album; there are flourishes of the avant-garde in more nonlinear tracks, like the abstract float of "Cloud Melodie," the brief glitch-fest of "The Story of Meteorites," or the ominous jungle war march of "Elephants." And tracks like "Trappings" and "Pow!" reference the downtown dance-punk of no-wavers like DNA and Liquid Liquid. But the familiarity of four-on-the-floor rockers like "Second Guessing" and hipshakers like "Flicker/33.3" will comfort fans of the space-disco Tussle they know and love. Rarely have indie rockers brought the boogie in such an all-embracing fashion, and if anyone could get stiff bespectacled arms-crossed music geeks to disco down, it's Tussle.
AllMusic Review by Brian Way