by Tom Alexander (@___alexd)
Jimmie Atchley is a self-described “lo-fi enthusiast”, and their Telepathy Club project is an example of them making good on that description. Their new album,Triple Cancer, carries all of the warmth that you would expect from classic analog recording equipment and a little bit extra for taste. Self-recorded on (mostly) a 4-track, the album is an exploration of Atchley’s innermost insecurities and anxieties. While that might sound harsh and scary, that lo-fi warmth, along with Telepathy Club’s inviting presentation, makes the Triple Cancer experience strangely comfortable. You see, Atchley works here as a Virgil figure from The Divine Comedy, guiding the listener into these emotional depths as an observer; Telepathy Club doesn’t force those painful emotions onto the listener, but instead, allows the listener to see and hear those emotions for what they are.
Triple Cancer’s centerpiece, “Push And Pull” is a near-8-minute cascade into Atchley’s psyche, pulling out a collage of styles and sounds. In an especially powerful moment, Atchley’s vocals recede, and a clip of dialogue from Neon Genesis Evangelion takes the wheel, steering the song forward. It’s a trick Telepathy Club uses twice of the record (also on “Moon Song”), and it is an inventive admission that “look, this sample will tell you how I am feeling better than I can” in those moments. Telepathy Club is full of these ingenious moves, and many of them are so subtle, the listener may not be aware of them in the moment. For example, the first two tracks – the nimble, yet hypnotic “It’s Your Karma” and “The River” – don’t hint at the harrowing depths of the final two tracks, where Telepathy Club completely abandons the pop-song format in favor for bold, expressionistic swaths of sound. That change, from beginning to end, represents something powerful in Telepathy Club’s songwriting; it’s only in looking back do we see how truly far we’ve come.