ARTIST: Telstar Sound Drone
RELEASE DATE: 18/03/16
RECORD COMPANY: Bad Afro Records
‘Magical Solutions To Everyday Struggles’ is an album by Copenhagen noise rock/drone band Telstar Sound Drone. The band shares members with garage tinged psych-rockers Baby Woodrose whose influence is evident, but never repeated here. The album was recorded deep within a World War II air-raid shelter and the album reflects this with its pulsating psychedelic infused instrumentals; covered in heavy distortion and tinged with an undercurrent of shoegaze. Although the band refer to themselves as a drone band, it is less relevant than some other prominent sounds from the band. For instance, the sound (at its very core of vocals and guitar) plays out in a similar manner to an Artic Monkeys/Tame Impala sound. Mix this with a tinge of psych-rock from the 1960’s and the heavy noise distortion of bands like NEPTUNE and you have Telstar Sound Drone, a fascinating mixture of collective sounds and genre-mixing to creating an interesting and (mostly) engaging album.
The album opens with the aptly titled ‘Drugs Help’ which sets up the listener for the rest of album. It features echoed vocals, mild distortion (in comparison to other tracks) and a repetitive drum beat that enhances the distortion and background feedback with compliment. ‘Something I Can’t Place’ is a far heavier track and the reverbed distortion at the songs opening is absolutely brilliant. TSD must be constantly complemented on their sound design on this entire album; but it is perhaps at its most prestigious on ‘Something I Can’t Place’. The vocals, the guitars and the noise all bounce and shudder with tremendous power while the drums play along in a stoner metal fashion; the bass is thick and dirty and there are occasional piercings of genius and well-engineered feedback that stand in where normal (arguably boring) bands would place a generic guitar solo. ‘Dark Kashmir’ is much more distant than the aforementioned tracks and relies on a much more minimalist sound; the drums play a simple repetitive beat (this track as actually close to drone) the pulsating noise intelligently almost drowns out the vocals on the track. ‘Dark Kashmir’ is a step away from the Tame Impala jangle in this sense; until it reaches out at just over the half way mark where the vocalist takes a suitably, almost Stone Roses vocal tone on the track and the music comes back to its swinging, loud, and less noisily ambient self. The track ‘Your Finger Stirs The Liquid Moon’ is brilliant and mixes an electronic feel over what could be an ambient pad. In a far out way, this track feels almost pinged on a distorted trip-hop feel and succeeds in being a great middle area of the album for the band and the opening and large consistency of ‘Closer Again’ mirrors space rock and meditates an upbeat shoegaze sound.
The closing four tracks stand brighter and more accomplished than most of the tracks on the album. ‘Mad Seeds’ returns to the heavier, though less intricate, sound of ‘Dark Kashmir’ and the airy ‘Dead Spaces’ melds together noise with the sound of slow, spaced out acid rock of the 1960’s and, again, features a crafted and deep sound. The album closes on its most contained and mellowed track ‘Lean Down on White’ which capsulizes a feeling of relief; like finally planting your metaphoric foot on the top of the preverbal mountain of mellowness after a climb of noise and feedback.
Although ‘Magical Solutions to Everyday Struggles’ has its streaks and moments of greatness the album as an entire unit slowly becomes repetitive (and not in a drone-ish way) as it jumps from track to track; although it holds its own on the closing side. In a genre where drone bands like Sunn O))) and Ufomammut carve their sound, entrance and play with listeners senses, and put a hypnotic trance upon the crowd with ambient but wild strumming to complement their brilliantly original sound, Telstar Drone Sound seem light and only occasionally radiate originality in the genre. That’s not to say this album is weak; it just could have been stronger. Credit payed where credits due, though. The performances are all great; I will reiterate the substantial admiration for the sound engineering on all the tracks. The albums production is brilliant; lyrically the songs are entrancing and project a drone styling and its undertones, that the band tempt the listener to delve into, feature great shoegaze passages and touches of trip-hop and neat alternative rock.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
C. Phillips is a writer and above all, a music lover, who seeks to gain experience through writing and listening. He is also an avid film viewer and art and literature junkie who enjoys creative writing. His most recent published work was featured on the Australian heavy music blog, I Probably Hate Your Band.