The Red Telephone

The Red Telephone


Warner Bros.

This brilliant debut is a massively overstuffed suitcase full of thrift shop hard pop. Open it up, and there’s an explosion of colors hinting at everything from early Cheap Trick to the Replacements to the Psychedelic Furs to the Afghan Whigs to Sonic Youth. I could swear I even detect a tatter of cyberpunk-era Voivod in there. And that’s just for starters. I mention these bands only as points of reference, and not to imply that the Red Telephone sound derivative or retro (could the ’80s be retro already?). All great guitar-based rock and roll bands wear their hearts on their sleeves (see above). It’s part of what makes them great. Anyway, suffice it to say that this as powerful and appealing as anything I’ve heard this year, and after several dozen listens, I continue to like it more and more. It’s got that “stick factor” that keeps it in the player for repeat plays. The Red Telephone scores a hat trick with me; great songs, excellent musicianship, and superb production.

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