Sydney outfit Telafonica return after the ambitious release project of their previous album Sleeping with the Fisherman, which included 7 remix EPs (one for each album track), a series of art films, and various other extras which were compiled together in a limited edition box set with lovingly crafted handmade packaging. Following this is no mean feat but the group, ever-faithful to their craft, have once again created a stunning package for their latest album Tales of Loss in the Stereo Field, comprised of mini-zines (created by various artists), T-shirts, and personally arranged floral bouquets.
This commitment to presenting their work as something more than just music is certainly admirable and lends the music an undeniable aesthetic quality.
The album itself is full of joyful, ramshackle pop, where twangy guitars and loose percussion combine with electronic flourishes set free from the rigid, grid-like structures of modern electronic music.
This liberal approach melds perfectly with the effortless interplay between the 3 vocalists with the sultry tones of Eliza Vickers complemented equally by the drawl of Blake Wassell and the understated delivery of Adrian Elmer.
Vickers being the most naturally gifted of the vocalists means tracks like ‘Home Song’ and lead single ‘What Remains’ are the most sleek and approachable, but the off-beat whimsy of tracks like ‘Body’ and ‘You, Me and the Missionary’ are equally charming, giving the album more depth and diversity.
The bouncy rhythm of ‘The Shape of What’s Gone’ recalls the similarly playful ‘To Me’ from their previous album and finds the group playing to their strengths with equally infectious results. ‘Dance in Tune’ comes off like a scruffy, adolescent take on a ’60s pop tune and is catchy as hell with Wassell and Elmer trading vocals like some illegitimate Lennon/McCartney offspring.
‘Spin Spin Spill Slip Slip Sing’ misses the mark slightly and seems a little out of place but aside from that the album flows quite seamlessly bookended by the aptly titled opener ‘Lullaby’ and the similarly dreamy ‘Hush, Hush My Father’.
The album is missing the darker explorations of Fisherman opener ‘Viceroy’, a side of the band I would like to hear more of but in saying that it would be in stark contrast to the album’s overall joyous mood.
Tales of Loss in the Stereo Field is fun and entertaining without being shallow or sickly sweet. A fine addition to anyone’s collection and if you’re so inclined be sure to take advantage of the beautiful physical editions.