The first and even midway through the second time I listened to #4 by The Telescopes, their almost freeform mixture of weird folk chanting and downright white noise sludge didn't really make a dent. Then, as with many releases that aren't neat and clean, it started to make sense, and their bizarre mixture of styles started to make sense. On this latest release from the group, 3 different people team up to play a lot of instruments and create music that at heart is damaged. The group takes plaintive folk tracks and layers them with soft white noise and clicks speaker pops and hiss over tracks that dip into psych rock.
The album opens with "The Hypnotic Pulse Of The Motor Driven," and the wordy title is a perfect description of the mechanized grind of the track, as it plows along burying vocals, guitars, and a repetitive rhythm in dense (but not overpowering) noise. After the crunch of the first track, "Link #1" plays it coy, again slathering some white haze over everything in the background, but letting haunting vocals and other glints of electronics (and even some lazy horns) drift into the mix, keeping you on the edge of your seat without ever letting things loose.
Despite the effective and eerie qualities of the aforementioned track, the group is best when they tie a solid dose of melody in with their more noisy and experimental side. "All The Leaves" is a gorgeous, hiss-soaked lament that sounds a bit like Low crossed with Arab Strap while "Singularity" mixes multiple sheets of increasingly loud fuzzy guitars alongside some subtle horns for something that sounds like Ladies And Gentlemen We Are Floating In Space-era Spiritualized doused in soft noise.
In some places, the groups propensity for drone and noise gets the best of them and it almost feels as if they can't decide which way they want to go. The nearly ten-minute "Fear The Eye That Became The Tone" lolls around for the first half with some horns and chanting vocals (mingled with their usual spot of crust), but just sort of gets stuck in a loop for the rest of the track before dissolving into feedback. Likewise, "On A Dead Man's Bones..." sludges around for almost nine minutes while only managing to lock into anything interesting for a short percentage of that time. Even with a couple mis-steps, though, #4 is still a pretty nice mixture of damaged folk and gritty psych rock.