Teledrome – s/t

Mammoth Cave/FDH/P. Trash

Teledrome is hailed as one of Calgary’s brightest lights — rightfully so if you ask us — but on the group’s near-flawless debut EP Double Vision Ryan Sadler’s minimalist synth-punk outfit felt at the mercy of its comparisons: The Spits. Gary Numan. Devo. And while such comparisons are apt Sadler’s eponymous LP in a just world could spawn plenty of its own imitators. Built around unforgiving drum machines glacial synthesizers and shearing mechanical guitars the foursome creates a composite of post-punk coldwave and new wave that in 10 songs realizes the hefty promise of their debut 7-inch. High praise to be certain but it’s well earned.

Teledrome we suspect will be labeled as cyborg music. But while most celebrate the robotic half of Sadler’s music — his syncopated dead-eyed bark the cymbal-free drums and so forth — the quartet’s most redeeming qualities are indisputably human. Indeed Sadler crafts 8-bit melodies then erects sonic universes around them: Sometimes beneath fuzzed-out synths Rock and Roll High School -worthy bubblegum lurks. (See “Dial Tone.”) Other times Teledrome songs are dark yet undeniably danceable; “New Motion” and “Ultra Instant” are goth prom anthems. Even at their most processed moments — standouts “Parallel” and “Gold Dawn” sound like they could’ve scored a Blade Runner NES game — Teledrome are strictly bionic: Like Kraftwerk’s The Man-Machine the band uses synthetics to bolster not replace Sadler’s songwriting. We’d call it cyberpunk but unfortunately the term’s been claimed by neon dreadlocked PVC trenchcoat-sporting DeviantArt users (and the people who write dissertations about them). Like bummer.