Telegraph Cult - Emojinalia
Released off label 2023
This review was commissioned. However, it bears no weight on the score or decision. All reviews are written from an unbiased standpoint.
Telegraph Cult is a collective “we” project primarily fronted by Jean H (formerly ASIHE, aLUnARED) who have quite an extensive explanation of themselves and the project at large. Being that I am no historian nor a Telegraph Cult documentary crew, I shan’t give the long of it, but the short of it. They describe themselves as “goth-adjacent electronic music” who got their name from a non-existent mystery / sci-fi radio drama surrounding a technology cult that we are all a part of considering that we all worship our phones / television and other electronic devices. Got all that? Great. Now we can move onto their debut EP “Emojinalia”.
Which does not start out the best with the song ‘Smile’. You remember those local stoners in high school who got together to jam in their parents’ garage thinking they were gonna take over the music industry and become famous? That’s what this kind of reminds me of. The vocals are terrible wails of a whining proportion, while the music is disconnected altogether. If they were going for a psychedelic hit, they missed the mark completely. This is awful.
The second song on the album does some repair work, however. While not terrific or anything spectacular, there’s at least a rhythm and a connection of ideas that form a song. Whirling synthesizers provide an odd experience while the percussion gives way for a bit of a dance beat. It kind of reminds me of one of those tunnels in a carnival that constantly spins. The vocals and production need work; it’s not as clean as it could be and the mix is alright at best. While Jean H does their best to sing, he’s just not a singer. This’ll be the last time I mention the vocals as I don’t want to be repetitive; just know that there’s not a moment on the EP where they sound good.
The bass guitar takes center stage on ‘Cold or Cool?’, but I also feel as if this is a song where there’s way too many sounds colliding into one voyage. High pitched synths, rainbow button presses, and the echoing vocals don’t do much more than give me a headache. The bass guitar rhythm isn’t half bad, however; it’s the rest of the track that needs to be pitched.
For the most part, what I’ve said above is how I feel for the rest of Telegraph Cult’s following songs. There are a lot of great ideas present on “Emojinalia” and a rather cool concept, but everything always sounds disjointed and as if they were placed on top of one another without too much thought. This is one of those rare cases where reviewing the rest of the EP would be an exercise in repetition; my thoughts for ‘Subterrain’, ‘Northern Exposure’, and ‘Wind Up’ can be found above.
Now, I don’t like to put decent folk completely down, and Telegraph Cult seem like some lovely people. But, the execution is flawed on every song and I can’t recommend this. I think the mixing is bad, some of the sounds are bad, the vocals are bad, and while there is an element here and there on some of the songs that I do enjoy, there are always other elements that drag the project down. A classic case of listen to it yourself to find out if it’s something you enjoy or not.Sep 25 2023
I've been writing for Brutal Resonance since November of 2012 and now serve as the editor-in-chief. I love the dark electronic underground and usually have too much to listen to at once but I love it. I am also an editor at Aggressive Deprivation, a digital/physical magazine since March of 2016. I support the scene as much as I can from my humble laptop.
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