Songs of Love and Revolution brings with it a sense of comfort, both dizzying and impassioned
Crawling from the depths of rock music are The Telescopes. The UK-based band have been around since the late ’80s, experimenting with various types of rock music varying from noise rock to psychedelia. With inspirations such as The Velvet Underground and The 13th Floor Elevators, their songs creep towards their listeners, engulfing them in a dream-like state of mind.
The band’s newest creation, Songs of Love and Revolution, is exactly that. Every song slowly saunters its way into people’s mind, leading them deeper and deeper into the weird, dark and wonderful world of The Telescopes. Most of the songs vary between calming and intense—you never really know what you’re going to get.
While the songs might sound grueling and filled with longing to some, Stephen Lawrie, vocalist for the band, thinks differently. In an interview with the website Louder Than War, Lawrie describes Songs of Love and Revolution as “lived in but not wallowing, it’s looking for answers. But to uplift, not bring you down in a hole.”
Optimism might not be the first word that comes to mind when people begin listening to this album, but listening to it won’t send one spiraling into a deep depression. The album begins with “This Is Not A Dream,” a heavy ballad with a consistent drum beat. The scratching sound of the guitar sets the tone for the rest of the album, as it continues to make an appearance in other songs. It almost sounds like white noise, as if an amplifier has been disconnected.
The next song, “Strange Waves,” starts off with a beating drum and that distinctive guitar scream. The deep pitch of the vocals combined with the bass creates a hypnotic sound that reels people into the rest of the album. “Mesmerised” follows behind “Strange Waves,” this time with clearer lyrics and less guitar. It slowly seeps its way into one’s mind, just as it says, “You’re hypnotized/ Mesmerised.” It’s one of the longer songs on the album, coming in at six minutes, but it is calming, combined with a sense of longing.
“Come Bring Your Love” starts off as a sultry, bass-heavy song. It seems almost cavernous in a way, as if there’s no end in sight before unleashing pure, unfiltered rock. The gears shift drastically as a drum beat and more wailing guitar enter the scene. If listeners were relaxed at the beginning of the song, by the end of it, they’re rocking out. “We See Magic and We Are Neutral, Unnecessary” is the second to last song on the album and immediately sucks the listener up into a vortex of loud guitar, building drum beats and a soft mumbling of some sort of incantation. It’s the grand finale before the kicker.
The final song, “Haul Away The Anchor,” sends the album to set sail to completion. The swirling intensity of the previous song juxtaposes this one. The ambient sounds of the ocean and the calling of seagulls is soft and relaxing, and a solemn sea shanty tune plays amongst the sounds of the sea. There’s something rather melancholy about it, leaving people with a taste of the ocean and a goodbye until next time.
If you’re like Lawrie, and your version of uplifting sounds like the raw sound of a guitar coupled with mesmerizing lyrics and melodies, then Songs of Love and Revolution is for you. Even if people don’t find it particularly uplifting, it’s still a mystifying musical experience.