Album Review: tELLEY – Now I’m the Big Sister

By on Tuesday, 14th July 2009 at 12:00 pm

Telley (side)This week, There Goes The Fear were handed the debut album of tELLEY – solo side-project of er, ‘Jim’, guitarist of London indie-pop band, Spearmint. Sadly, readers, from there on, tELLEY remain quite a mystery to me. Still, my quite obvious lack in knowledge about the band only allowed me to musically focus more so on the record before me. tELLEY claimed their debut, ‘Now I’m the Big Sister’, sounded like a mixture of Flaming Lips, XTC and Sparks, making use of “scratchy guitars, ferocious drums, cut and paste keyboard noises all pinned together with simple melodies”. I was obviously intrigued by this interesting preview – so let’s see what I thought of the record…

Basically, ‘Now I’m the Big Sister’ brims with short, light-hearted shots of synth-indie-pop. Admittedly, nothing about this record is exactly ground breaking, but it’s still good fun to listen to. Jim and band mates prove their ability to produce perfectly pretty pop amid tracks such as the merry ‘Red is My Key’ and the uber uplifting ‘Good At What You Do’. Classic Sparks’ cover ‘Get in the Swing’ meanwhile, exploads with joyful, Willy-Wonka stylee synths as tELLEY skilfully add a fresh touch to this otherwise retro number.

Tracks such as ‘The External Fixator’ and ‘This is What You Can’t Have’ take the record in a more brash direction, making use of excitable drums, plodding bass lines and even, in the case of the latter song, psychedelic guitar solos. However, said thrashier sound is always counterbalanced by the band’s poppy and angelically delicate harmonies. Alas, that key, sunny-sense of the record is never lost on the listener.

‘All the Girls Want to Love You’ is definitely an album highlight. Bopping synths lead into Daft Punk-stylee robotic vocals, before suddenly, in kicks the awesome pop-punk chorus which sees the band enthusiastically shout “That’ perfect! That’s perfect for you! You read their thoughts like I’m reading my favourite book!”. Another stand-out track is album-closer ‘Over the Sea’. A slower paced number, this is perhaps the most serious, heck even epic track on the album thanks to it’s strings, weeping guitars and beautifully floaty vocals.

However. It’s certainly not all great. Despite it’s awesome opening riff, ‘Bad Boy Good Girl’ ultimately ends up sounding like a bad Ting Tings track, while the super-short ‘Settle Down’ is just kinda, pointless. Meanwhile, ‘We are Not Like You’s’ basic hooks, combined with it’s uber simple lyrics, means the song just sounds irritatingly amateur.

Still, we gotta remember that ‘Now I’m the Big Sister’ is a record which is not meant to be taken all that seriously. The album is cute and it’s fun, revelling in short, simple, but down-right catchy melodies from start to finish. For that reason, I give this enjoyable record an ultimate thumbs up.

To learn more about tELLEY, including details on how to order the album, head over to the band’s MySpace page now

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