Telepathe are from Brooklyn, New York. A lot of really great music is coming out of Brooklyn, New York at the moment. This record, however, lays waste to the idea of a ‘Brooklyn sound’, revealing only a shared mission statement to make great, original sounding music. One listen to Dance Mother, their debut album, and you can see why Telepathe would have been linked - lazily - to the other popular artists of this region.
Dance Mother is a fitting name for Telepathe's debut album: the band's mix of hard-edged beats and softer electronic textures often feels strangely primordial, like it's growing and evolving into something that will eventually become dance music. Despite the drums that propel every track, these songs lean toward the dancefloor but only step on it occasionally, preferring instead to cast hazy, free-flowing atmospheres. Telepathe began with these experimental roots on their first EPs, gradually getting more pop with each release.
Hype-sters love a band like Telepathe. What's more fun to talk about than two cute girls from Brooklyn with a beguiling name and an affinity for Southern gangsta rap and tribal chants? Add that they're produced and loved by TV on the Radio's Dave Sitek, and it was inevitable that the group's first album, Dance Mother, would wilt under the anticipation. But don't go so fast: There remains vast potential on this record.
I hadn’t heard much of Telepathe before a few months ago, when Owen Pallett (of Final Fantasy) raved about them on Twitter – then was outraged when Pitchfork’s review “attributes Telepathe “Dance Mother”‘s successes to Dave Sitek. *Barf*.” I think he got his point across. Sitek, who’s better known as the production genius behind and member of TV on the Radio, is likely to be mentioned in most of the reviews of Telepathe’s debut album Dance Mother, that you care to read.
Melissa Livaudais and Busy Ganges' stock has been rising for a year or so now. On the strength of singles "I Can't Stand It" and "Chrome's on It", which display the two distinct sides of their increasingly synth-heavy avant-pop approach, the Brooklyn duo comprising Telepathe has generated a good amount of buzz. Pick up a copy of any self-respecting culture rag and there's likely to be a front-of-book profile featuring the girls looking ultra cool in chunky sunglasses and designer hoodies.
Yet more Brooklyn trendies – and another buzz band produced by TV On the Radio's David Sitek – Telepathe are rather different from neighbours such as MGMT and Yeasayer. Melissa Livaudais and Busy Gangnes are a female experimental duo making leftfield, often avant-garde electronic pop. Their electronic sculptures are packed with snaking synth lines, plangent guitars, cutup R&B grooves and bubbling bleeps, which visit all points from Orbital to My Bloody Valentine.
Telepathe are the latest in the recent invasion of slightly po-faced indie hipster types from Brooklyn, which means they're experimental and cerebral, and have had the fairy-dust production treatment from TV on the Radio's Dave Sitek. But don't let that deter you. Female duo Melissa Livaudais and Busy Gangnes make stark, witchy electronica that's subtle and exciting, their mantra-like voices drawing you in like a sinister nursery rhyme, with melodies breaking through their oblique, half-muttered lyrics like beams of winter sunlight.