We Were Ghosts
History shows that couples in bands can produce some of the most intense and revealing music about relationships, from Blondie to Sonic Youth to Fleetwood Mac to (and this is the most apt musical comparison when it comes to Telegraphs) the Smashing Pumpkins.
The debut album by Brighton five-piece Telegraphs was written by singer/guitarist Darcy Harrison and singer/bassist Hattie Williams as their relationship ended, and on emotionally charged songs like ‘The Argument’ and ‘So Cold’ it shows. They’re still friends and (fortunately for us) bandmates, and their harmonies sound excellent on the likes of ‘Notes From An Exit Station’.
Album opener ‘The Argument’, punchy alt. rock with hints of Biffy Clyro, ¡Forward, Russia! and Read Yellow, sets the tone with Harrison singing, “Here comes the argument... take it back! Take it back!” While on the thrilling, epic-emo ‘Your First Love’ he shouts, “Your first love is dead!”
On these, ‘We Dance In Slow Motion’ and past single ‘I Don’t Navigate By You’, with Williams on lead vocals and sounding not unlike Read Yellow’s Michelle Kay, Telegraphs produce riff after riff. They’re relentless, exhilarating and in America they’d be on a major label (or at least a label owned by a star on a major label) with a sound as big as instrumental ‘Drop D Not Bombs’. As it is, it falls to the excellent Small Town Records to propel them towards alternative stardom.
The quieter ‘Forever Never’ gives them space to show their talents as singers, songwriters and musicians more clearly, as Harrison sounds like a man scorned and the rest of the band burn through a post-rock type arrangement behind him. The anti-surveillance society single ‘The Rules Of Modern Policing’ also shows how good Harrison and Williams’ personal songs are by comparison. Saying the UK in 2009 “feels like 1984” isn’t as firey as their songs about fractured relationships. If they keep capturing the messiness of human nature this well, Telegraphs will be a band we want to stick together for a long time.