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Tellison – The Wages Of Fear

Nichola Eastwood


Initially, the latest effort from London four piece, Tellison, seems as though we’re launching ourselves on a paint by numbers indie marathon.  Nothing bad in that, but nothing particularly new or exciting either … so thank heavens Stephen Davidson and crew see fit to prove first impressions wrong.

The Wages Of Fear opens with unassuming piano, which frankly, makes you sigh and bear yourself up for what’s to come.  Such worries, however, are speedily abated with an unexpected burst of guitar, albeit light and summery.  It’s really Stephen’s vocals which lend life to opening track Get On.  It’s a catchy start and the wailing quality of Stephen’s voice gives the track a striking edge.  Say Silence stays in alternative rock territory, not really veering away enough from the sound of the opening track to make an impact.  It’s about here we start to feel apprehensive and fret that Tellison are going to drag us kicking and screaming down a rather bland avenue.

The London boys don’t let us down though, and we feel sorry we ever doubted them.  Know Thy Foe is heartbroken, downbeat indie.  Gone is the angst from Stephen’s vocals, replaced instead with a touching melancholy.  Tellison prove they’re capable of more than head banging rock here.  Collarbone, originally released in November last year as a single, is an addictive indie sing along with racing guitar and a harmony reminiscent of the Futureheads’ cover Hounds Of Love.

The creatively entitled Freud Links The Teeth And The Heart is a quirky, downbeat love song that (obviously) doesn’t take itself too seriously.  Strange lyrics abound here, ‘she says to me/please take care of your teeth/and I say to her/please take care of my heart’ and this is no bad thing, instead only adding to the track’s lovably odd charm.  Horses is darker and harder, a more mature sound, with greater depth and substance than its preceding neighbours.  Tell It To Thebes is the best track on the album, brooding with an instantly catchy chorus, it reaches an impressive crescendo of guitar and drums.  It’s a layered number which again sees the mature side of the four piece that seems be amplified in their more sombre work.

Edith stomps up to our eardrums with instantly recognisable guitar, the track does get a bit monotonous though and the lyrics repetitive.  Still, if it’s a shout out loud indie anthem you’re after, this should do the trick.  Album closer My Wife’s Grave Is In Paris (yet another eye catching name) is a mellow shut down with subtle guitar, melancholic vocals and rhythmic drums.  It’s an impressive and apt finish to the record.

Credit where credit is due, Tellison have made an excellent record here but there’s room for improvement.  The more sedate, dark moments on the record are where the foursome’s talents really shine and there’s just simply not enough of this to be found.  The Wages Of Fear is really a promise of what Tellison will bring with a fully matured sound .. watch this space!

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