by Kelly Johnson
Rob Garcia and Sarah Everton are no strangers to fronting a rock group together. As half of the Philadelphia four-piece Bleeding Rainbow, both traded and teamed up on vocal duties over their hard-hitting blend of shoegaze, punk and heavy rock. With their new project Telepathic, they’ve stripped back to the basics: driving 4/4 punk with buzzed-out guitars under razor-tight vocal harmonies.
Right on the heels of the band’s debut EP back in spring of 2015, Powers of Ten, Telepathic are self-releasing the 8-song Time Release on a run of 250 cassettes. It’s a capitalization on the thesis from Powers of Ten to keep the songs fixed and trimmed. No notes are wasted on these Hüsker Dü inspired rave-ups. On tracks like “Suit to Fit,” “Just a Phase,” and “Pointless,” trebly guitars meld with a fuzzed-out bass to create a bracing tension over drummer Paul Brinkley’s constant pounding. In fact, Telepathic manages to pull off a great Mould/Hart trick that could have easily fallen flat in a lesser band’s hands. The guitars are mixed to clang in the same space as the cymbals to create a wash that lends an urgency, rather than a headache, on the faster tunes here.
Other tracks on Time Release branch out without stretching too far from the trunk. “Intro” doesn’t have too much up its sleeve: it is indeed the first track and consists solely of 40 seconds of feedback leading into the Pixiesesque “Circulation.” “Never Alone” glides along a fuzzy two-note bassline and ascending chorus before sprinting to a rock out finish. The true outlier here is “Mirror Image,” the lo-fi (tape hiss and all) final track of Everton singing along to a simple acoustic guitar pattern.
These are all solid punk songs in their own right, but the real power in Telepathic’s corner is the vocal harmonizing between Everton and Garcia. Both have strong voices independently, but craft effortless-sounding harmonies together. Whenever they team up on the choruses, particularly on the 1-2-3 combination of “Suit to Fit,” “Just a Phase,” and “Pay Attention,” they elevate these tunes to another level. It’s a lot of fun listening to the subtle variations and interplay between them as they comfortably drop in and out. They could sing over just about anything and make it work, but luckily on Time Release, they decided to make it kickass punk (the good kind, ya know).