Essential New Music: The Telescopes’ “As Light Return”

Like the Feelies, the Telescopes have a doughnut for a timeline. They started out in 1987 as a promising psych-pop combo whose music argued for the merits of guitars in the pre-Loveless era. After fizzling in the early ’90s, they took a decade off. Now organized around founding singer/guitarist Stephen Lawrie, they sound much heavier and quite unburdened by commercial notions. Lawrie isn’t averse to singing tunes, but he saddles them with lumbering cadences and heaping clouds of looped guitars until it seems like the noise is the point. Each of the record’s five songs inches closer to that conclusion, but it’s the epic finale, “Handful Of Ashes,” that makes the case. With the drums withdrawn and the guitars circling like hurricane clouds, it completely embraces the maelstrom.

Bill Meyer