• Telescopes
  • 7th # Disaster EP (UK Cheree) 1989 
  • Taste (UK What Goes On) 1989 
  • The Perfect Needle EP (UK What Goes On) 1989 
  • To Kill a Slow Girl Walking EP (UK What Goes On) 1989 
  • Everso EP (UK Creation) 1990 
  • The Telescopes EP (UK Creation) 1990 
  • Trade Mark of Quality (UK Fierce) 1990 
  • Celeste EP (UK Creation) 1991 

Violently coupling ’60s punk with a Jesus and Mary howl, Burton-upon-Trent’s Telescopes originally got on the map via their debut single (presaged by a live flexi). While the title tune of 7th # Disaster only improves on the quintet’s formula, the other three tracks slither tentacles into neighboring pies, demonstrating, in particular, a decidedly un-Dinosaur(Jr)-like grasp of strum/shriek dynamics. Perfect Needle goes one rung further up the ladder of iconoclasm, adding violins and slow seething tunes to the distortion, resulting in music that is no more complicated nor any less aggressive than the Stooges, yet sounds like nobody but the Telescopes.

Taste reprises “Perfect Needle” from the EP, mating it with a set ranging from gentle fury to frantic abandon. The band’s control of aural mania and anger is impeccable (credit due debut-till-death producer Richard Formby), but precious little of the actual material equals preceding or subsequent EPs.

To Kill a Slow Girl Walking adds nothing to the canon save a few trumpet bleats — and more highly memorable tuneage. Trade Mark of Quality is essentially an upper-end bootleggish bit of live mayhem in the dodgy Fierce-label series also covering Spacemen 3 and the Pooh Sticks, interesting only in its glimpse of the band sans studio augmentation. While the muted live buzz is unquestionably less invigorating than their “crafted” material, the ‘Scopes do manage to kick out several flavors of jam for a tense and tasty megadecibel, megadrenaline rush.

Sidestepping onto Creation, the group’s next record ups the pop content two notches while decreasing the pain quotient to the same degree, allowing nuances previously buried in feedback to surface. Everso subtracts all remaining scree for a brief garage psych outing that could have graced their first two records if they’d had greater control — and politer manners — back then. Proceeding from there, the dull and faceless Celeste totally drops the band’s personality and is sonically unidentifiable as the Telescopes.

[Art Black]