Telstar Drugs
Egg Paper Factory

On their new cassette Sonatine, Montreal-via-Calgary outfit Telstar Drugs present their most dynamic release yet. The band explores a constellation of post-punk sounds, weaving subdued, haunting vocals into the fabric of their dissonant jaunts. The opening track “Misstep,” combines layered croons with chime-like guitars to immediately establish a melancholic and bright atmosphere. That juxtaposition continues throughout: “Thoughts In Loops” starts firmly in shoegaze territory before descending into a bleary synth beat, while the straightforward rhythm of “Pulley” is laced with shimmering guitar tones. Sometimes these progressions fall short, as in the sparse, slow “Ceaseless Intent.” The lyrics are often mixed so deeply that they sound more like instruments than words. Ultimately, it’s a willingness to thread together disparate elements into enveloping jams that gives the release its appeal. Closer “Soft Focus” is an apt demonstration, moving from a gloomy shuffle into jerky dance-punk before leaving off in a minimalist wash of strums and drums. For inventiveness alone, Sonatine is worth a listen.

– Chris Anhorn

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