Brilliantly dark, this tantalising synth-laden neo-noir offering from Cardiff’s Red Telephone is to be admired. With an atmospheric wash of jagged guitars, new wave-esque textured synths and experimental Krautrock rhythms, this eagerly-awaited debut album from the Welsh four-piece is certainly one to spin.
Having already impressed the likes of Steve Lamacq at BBC Radio 6 Music, Red Telephone are serving up a deliciously dark, mesmerising and a dystopian-tinged sonic palette that could have been heard in Bowie’s Berlin in the late 1970’s.
Bowie’s Berlin trilogy is a huge influence in this intriguing debut (and in particular ‘Low’) but there’s also influencers from the likes of MGMT, Roxy Music, Tame Impala and fellow Berlin alumni – Depeche Mode.
Exploring far-reaching themes of boredom, the trappings of modern life, detachment, the majority of the tracks would not be out of place on a cult film soundtrack.
The eponymous track sets the tone of the album early doors, with a rich, hypnotic, yet brooding sound that is visceral and intelligent.
‘Waiting For Your Good Days’ eases in with dreamy vocals and enigmatic percussion speaks of hope – how better days are ahead, you just need to get there, but the struggle remains with poignant lines that resonate like: “It can’t be long now. What does it even mean now?”
‘Orange Lights’ is a hazy, almost futuristic anthem that will go down well on the festival circuit. The vocals are ethereal and light which create a striking juxtaposition against the swirling dark synths and fuzzy distorted guitars.
There’s an almost sinister and dangerous tone to ‘I’m Broken’ which talks of not being able to ‘see a future that can really be mine’. This feels reminiscent of material from the early days of The Cure mixed with the most recent industrial rock and electronica offering from Editors.
Gritty, brilliantly dark and expansive, ‘Hollowing Out’ is an impressive and masterful debut which is going to propel Red Telephone to new heights.
Words: Emma Harrison