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Voices from the New Music

Telstar Ponies

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Album Review

Scotland's Telstar Ponies never hit the ground running, despite the usual rapturous music-press buzz over their respective indie rock pedigrees. The band is mostly remembered as drummer Brendan O'Hare's next move after departing Teenage Fanclub's more power pop-oriented pastures, which are supplanted by a darker, almost claustrophobic sound. Telstar Ponies' freewheeling blend of deliberate tempos, paint-peeling guitar leads, and dreamy vocals naturally recall bygone New York art punkers like Television, or the Velvet Underground had they given their dronier side free rein. However, the atonal vocals and guitars preclude such easy pigeonholing; so do credits for "instruments" like bottle openers, buckets, hairbrushes, and tin cans. The best moments occur when the group cools their single-minded progressive ethic long enough to rock out; guitars squall to thunderous effect on "A Feather on the Breath" and the 13-minute epic "Does Your Heart Have Wings." Rachel Devine's swooning vocal delivery works to pin-drop intensity on such quieter tracks as the wistful "Song of Anusz." The music does exude a glossy confidence, although the group's cerebral stiffness seems best-suited for aspiring poets; the booklet credits scream of artsy conceit in quoting such disparate figures as Keiji Haro, Charles Mingus, and Thomas Wolfe. Guitar freaks will likely sift through the instrumental peaks and file the album away; so goes the '90s-era musical technocracy.

Biography

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '90s

After David Keenan (guitar, vocals) departed from 18 Wheeler in 1994, he formed the Telstar Ponies in Glasgow, Scotland, with singer Rachel Devine, Gavin Laird (guitar, vocals), and former Teenage Fanclub drummer Brendan O'Hare. In 1995, the Telstar Ponies released their first album, In the Space of a Few Minutes. The Telstar Ponies were originally viewed by some critics as a weak knock-off of Teenage Fanclub. However, by their second LP, 1996's Voices From the New Music, the band had become more...
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Voices from the New Music, Telstar Ponies
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