Telegraphs - So Cold/Ariel

Tim Miller 21/05/2006

Rating: 4/5

It must have been oh-so-tempting for Brighton-based group Telegraphs to go with the never-ending flow and stick a 'The' at the front of their name. 'The Telegraphs' even has a nice ring to it. So, for this reason alone, Telegraphs are a band worth taking notice of. Their double A-side single So Cold/Ariel is another.

Although it is a double A-side, it is clear why So Cold is the song to lead the way. A broody, murky bass and drum intro backs quiet, menacing vocals, sliced into by a descending guitar line that echoes like a warning siren. The warning precedes something very dangerous indeed: an inanely catchy, brilliantly effective chorus. The two part harmony vocals and the gentle guitar refrains in the background combine subtly to leave you pressing the repeat button, just so you can hear that chorus again. “How could you know I could be so cold?” they cry, with despairing yearning.

Second track Ariel, then, has a hard act to follow. And, though deemed equal to So Cold by the band, it ultimately doesn't quite reach the same heights. With half spoken half sung vocals and a picked guitar setting the mood, akin to Radiohead's 'Street Spirit', the rest of the band waits until the chorus to kick in, exploding with crashes of cymbals and anguished guitars. The song follows this quiet loud alternation, with bursts of guitars and passionate vocals too infrequently interrupting the melancholy verses.
It is also unfortunate that the chorus uses the same four chords, in the same key, as So Cold. Whether this is an innocent oversight by the band, or deliberately set to create a sense of continuity, it does mean that the double A-side songs sound rather too similar to each other and would surely have to be split apart on the album.

I am confident, however, that there will be an album, based solely on the fact that So Cold is so good, and, were it coupled with almost any other song, Ariel would make an effective stand alone single too. So Cold's chorus - the CHORUS! - has the appeal to transcend the boundaries of underground and mainstream indie, while the wailing guitar echoes on far beyond the constraints of the song length. Telegraphs are a band on the ascendancy, and double a-side So Cold/Ariel is a sumptuous bite of this sweet and sour Brighton rock.