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Telepathe's Dance Mother was something of a revelation when it came out 6 years ago. An electronic tour de force, it eschewed the more fashionable elements from the year before (think of the pop hooks on Nights Out Metronomy, the now almost cliché house and disco beats on Hercules & Love Affair's self titled debut or Cut Copy's understated generic dance euphoria on In Ghost Colours) for, at the time, something less trendy and less well trodden. They took elements from no wave and post punk as much as they borrowed from their peers scene, creating beats that were closer to contemporaries Cold Cave and Xiu Xiu, or even New Order and early Human League. It was a new take on electronic pop that was very consciously trying not to be a new take on electronic pop.

Bring it forward to 2015 and their follow up is being released on their own label, three years after it was recorded (the delay, according to their statement - "We had attempted to release Destroyer a couple of times during the last two years, but the process was delayed by industry and label politics."). Ignoring the fact that in a modern context three years delay is a really really long time (Lone's Lemurian, released the year before Telepathe's debut has just been reissued), what have they done to change their sound and, for want of better phrasing, justify their 'comeback'?

The answer is not much. They've stuck to the same formula as the first album and just fleshed it out a bit, which unfortunately only detracts from the effect. Gone are the catchy, somewhat minimal, hooks of 'So Fine', 'Chrome's On It' and 'Can't Stand It' and in their place stand padded out tracks like opener and lead single 'Destroyer' that can't quite work out what they are. Each track feels too laboured over, each step too polished and too removed from their formation to leave any sort of effect.

This is largely down to production - while there are bands that can take the vocals high and everything under approach to an album, Telepathe haven't made the album to justify that. They're writing the hooks for it ('Slow Learner' is a perfect take on mid era Madonna in the chorus) but then not backing it up with the vocals or the composition, which they're still writing for the Xiu Xiu, Cold Cave crowd that they courted with their first album. They're a band divided - they're dying to make well-crafted pop but are too fixated by their credibility (or just plain unable) to make the leap into pure pop. There's all the ingredients for a great pop album but they never reach the heights for long enough, or vary themselves well enough, to make a pop song.

There's still a lot of fun here - the aforementioned 'Slow Learner' is catchy and fun during the chorus, 'Hyper Ho' has a great opening and groove and 'Damaged Raid' has a brilliant stuttering buildup that echoes Holy Other. However, none of them feel like they know what they are - the brilliant pop chorus of 'Slow Learner' wanders aimlessly between choruses pretending to be angsty, never doing much; 'Hyper Ho' goes nowhere after the opening and just plays around, never developing into more than an interlude, and 'Damaged Raid' drops into the weakest possible take on a pop chorus ever devised where they repeat "I do want you" in various iterations. Until they can decide to pursue either their pop trends or their darker elements (or, even better, work out how to cohesively marry them) they're not going to get the recognition that their first album suggested they deserve. It's been three years since the creation of this album, let's hope they've developed something better since.

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