Telepathe’s first release Dance Mother was a strange beast. Its minimal beats and raw vocals were an interesting mix, though the album was conflicting; from awkward talk-singing over wavering beats on Devil’s Trident to a lush synth-pop mid-tempo on Can’t Stand It, the album had some interesting moments but felt too experimental for its own good. Now, six years later, the follow-up album Destroyer has landed, and things are largely the same the second time around.
Destroyer shares a lot with Dance Mother sonically. The synths still have a sort of retro feel in the midst of the indie electro sound that dominates the album, but things are a more filled out this time. The light beats are replaced with full accompaniments, sometimes sparkling and lively, other times mechanical and dark. The experimental edge isn’t as strong, but the raw vocals from Busy Gangnes and Melissa Livaudais are still there, so it sounds like a friendlier version of their previous work.
Destroyer largely sticks to one note, but does have a few songs that really pop in the mix. Slow Learner benefits from the 80s feel to its instrumental that gives it the catchy pop factor that it needed, and their vocals sound the best here. Throw Away This takes a similar route, and the chorus is particularly exciting here. Onyx, however, is the album’s strongest moment, with a strong beat and a nice build-up from the simple verses to the ambient spectacle of the chorus.
The increased pop factor is really the main reason Destroyer stands out as an improvement. It feels like a better fit, with both Gangnes and Livaudais sounding better here than on Dance Mother, and as a whole it’s a better listen. The material does suffer from feeling dated at times though, and some more experimentation would have been welcomed. Largely, though, Destroyer is a good follow-up for Telepathe, even if it’s not quite an amazing one.