London rockers Telegram are a difficult bunch to grasp. Like a toss up between Ed "Tenpole Tudor" and Mark E Smith, they're a band who define their sound with Punk ethos. Rules are definitely not there to be followed. And as for the Rock and Roll lifestyle, judging by the release of the new You Said You Saw Us, that's there in abundance too. The sound and look fit the bill for Third Outing, but before we find out who Telegram are in interview, here's something to think about...
There's a few things you'll uncover in the debate over how "Punk" Telegram are. They harness the same energy you associate with Punk, even crossed with their "Art-Rock" characteristics and powerful poetic urges by front man Matt Saunders. But they present themselves with a difference, a certain clarity which their Punk peers sometimes lack.
Telegram are a Rock and Roll band who have roared through long, tense jams. You hear it in their music. When we first heard Operator, it somehow felt like it already belonged on 6 music wedged between Super Furry Animals and Television. That's how good, and how legitimately real their Rock and Roll comes across, which is only powered up by the Punk drive behind it.
That's an important thing, because even though the sound on Operator must only be described as clean, raw and simple, the band never let up, the energy is always there. The record simply crackles along with a keen bite and falls back on the certain atmosphere Telegram have made their own. That's the thing that makes the record already so classic. It's Punk but it isn't; it's next level Punk.
The band have just been on the road for the last round of sweaty gigs, so that's where we caught them for a classic Third Outing interview. Here's what Telegram had to say...
Life's pretty good for Telegram right now, huh?
So everyone keeps telling us! I guess it’s all in the eye of the beholder, touring is the best escape from life.
You played the Brudenell Social Club in Leeds, famous for early shows by our favourites The Cribs. Are you going to take Britain by storm like they did a number of years ago?
Of course. Then it’s off to live in Portland like they did a number of years ago. We love the Brudenell. Always serves as a great kick-off to the tour.
The new track You Said You Saw Us Again. I'd call it punk, would you? Ever heard of Ed "Tenpole Tudor"?
Yes I love The Crystal Maze, although I always preferred Richard O’Brien as a presenter and musician. I enjoyed seeing Tenpole Tudor opening for the Damned many years ago, but we’re more Rocky Horror Show than Swords of a Thousand Men.
"We like the idea of treating our next chapter as installments, different forms of release, fucking with the traditional boring system"
Follow is arguably your most successful release to date. It has 90K odd listens on Soundcloud, but sounds so different to your new releases. Is that meant/a good idea/desired progression?
It would be pointless for us to keep sounding exactly the same. I’d like to think although it sounds different to how we do currently, we’ve always sounded like Telegram and will continue to do so. Like how a person’s appearance changes over time; they look different, but they’re still the same being.
Needles In The Camel's Eye is a perfect example of you being a "guitar band". Brian Eno would dig it. What do you think to the health of guitar music in Britain, and especially compared to America?
There’s some great stuff going on stateside at the moment. The scene in California with Ty Segall, Thee Oh Sees and the like, is really exciting and prolific. I think the focus in Britain has changed from guitar bands towards more electronic sounds at the moment, not necessarily a bad thing. Everything works in cycles; it’s the natural ebb and flow.
Super Fury Animals. Do you hear the comparison too? The voice, the psych vibes. Or is that just us?
We get that comparison a lot. Some of us are big SFA fans and featuring a Welsh contingent, we naturally hold a special section in the musical Venn diagram with them.