Album Review: Telepopmusik’s Ep Try Me Anyway/Fever

Telepopmusik’s Try Me Anyway/Fever is, to put it plainly, very odd. The EP is made up of the French Electronica group’s two new songs, as well as several remixes of varying trippiness and is really an exercise in defying definition, bringing to the table a listening experience that’s both bewildering and engrossing.

What makes this EP so odd of an experience isn’t necessarily originality, but rather the fact that it simultaneously sounds like a great amount bands you’ve heard before, invoking a sense of familiarity in a dozen different directions all at once. Fabrice Dumont’s vocals are so reminiscent of Garbage’s Shirley Manson it’s almost eerie. The synth tracks sound like something out of LCD Soundsystem or one of Nine Inch Nails darker albums. Comparisons to Woodkid and Massive Attack pop up throughout the instrumentals, particularly the baseline and percussion. And when you listen to a song like “Try Me Anyway” there’s really this very peculiar blend of gothic sensibility and wry hipness in the aesthetics of it.

The real virtue of this album is how it takes such a cacophony of styles and sounds that probably shouldn’t mesh, creating a whole that feels genuine. The album is definitely a patchwork, but it’s one that conveys a real sense of personality. It’s almost like a house music version of Frankenstein’s monster: you can see the scars where different elements were stitched together, but the whole definitely works.

The only qualm I have this this album is finding a place for it after your first listen, when the music is no longer a new experience. The great thing about electronic-esque music like this—Flying Lotus or Bonobo for example—is that there’s immediately a clear sense of its purpose. You know if the album is for dancing, partying or romance by the end of the first song. That’s part of the staying power. But because these songs transition so rapidly between ambient, dance and gothic there’s never that sense of consistency. The pacing will shift from blood pumping to somber so abruptly as to give a listener whiplash. And while that’s definitely fascinating, it’s also difficult to work with as a listener. The only clue I’ve been able to derive from this trailer is that I’m supposed to be smoking cigarettes while listening to it.

Try Me Anyway/Fever is definitely worth listening to; it’s an engrossing experiment that blurs the lines between genres and surprises the listener at every turn. But in the process, it places a lot of its appeal in a sense of novelty, and once that wears off it may very well lack staying power.

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