There’s something wonderfully delicious about the sound that comes from Red Telephone. It’s not a specific sound but a combination of sounds like the quiver in Decaln Andrew’s vocals, the detailed attention to synths that snake through songs, the way each song feels comforting like your favourite sweater even if you’re hearing it for the first time, and lyrics that connect on a visceral level to one’s soul.
With their album, Hollowing Out, Red Telephone delivers that delectable sound in 10 magnificent songs.
Declan says this of the album that will be out on Friday,
While putting together our debut album we were really getting into synths; drawing quite a bit on brooding, synth-led film soundtracks like Blade Runner, Scarface and Uncut Gems. This definitely crossed over with our love of Bowie’s Berlin-era sound, his work with Iggy and albums like Little Dark Age by MGMT too. We really wanted to integrate these sounds and influences into a modern sounding record rather than just looking back though, so we spent a lot of time getting the bass and low end sounding as big and distinctive as possible – we were really influenced by the likes of Kendrick Lamar in this respect. There’s also a big guitar aspect to the sound so it’s definitely not just a synth album. The most recent Strokes album The New Abnormal had just come out when we started work on this album and we were listening to it a lot, so no doubt some of those guitar approaches found their way into the sound.
Bowie’s influence on the Cardiff four piece can be heard on the title and lead track. It sets the mood for the album with grandiose noise. The song is utterly striking in music. Opening with a sharp piano before being joined by a jazzy drum. This duo pivots into an epic and opulent sound that is wonderfully chaotic before dropping back down to keep it cool and keep it calm vibe.
It’s the pivot back and forth that I find impressive with Red Telephone. They can go from calm, cool, and collected to hyper and manic with ease, be it within a song or be it from song to song.
The songs on Hollowing Out are not predictable, not that I would expect predictability from Red Telephone. I’ve mentioned before in previous posts, there’s just something about this band and their sound and they bring it to each song with a fiery fervour that is exciting and refreshing.
Hollowing Out as a whole is one smashable album. Which means there’s no skippable songs. It’s easily digestible in one sitting or if your attention span can only sit for 3-4 minute bursts, then that too allows one to experience who Red Telephone is as the band never fails to bring themselves to each song as they do the whole album. But honestly, do yourself a favour, sit in your favourite chair, throw your headphones on and immerse yourself in Hollowing Out.
In a sea of similar sounding alt-rock bands, Red Telephone is a beacon of unique and distinct sound that brings this writer joy.
MUST LISTEN TRACKS: “Hollowing Out”, “Wanna Sleep Tonight”, “Orange Lights”, “Normal Life”
FAVOURITE TRACKS: “Hollowing Out”, “Orange Lights”, “Normal Life”
Pre-order Hollowing Out