Telafonica: The Punches or the Lies

With the forty-minute ‘EP' The Punches or the Lies, Sydney electronic trio Telafonica gives a hint of what we can expect from its forthcoming album. And hint is the key word, as it's difficult to acquire an in-depth impression of the band when the ratio of originals to remixes is 1:6. Having said that, Telafonica's “This is the New Thing” offers a promising mix of electro-disco and defiant punk swagger, the former arriving in the form of rubbery disco bass lines and squiggly Moog hooks and the latter in the snarling vocals (“Every prediction is coming true and every prediction points to you”).

On the remix front, “Tape Noise” receives three treatments but redundancy isn't an issue. Highpoint Lowlife artist Marshall Watson presents it as an urgent, dystopic banger, while Broken Chip strafes its melancholy keyboard lines with electronic whirr and click. Acoustic guitars in All India Radio's string-laden version bring a “Hotel California” vibe to the song while handclaps and crisp beats add a subtle funk dimension. Sunstroke Militia ups the electro-funk ante in its stripped-down dance makeover of “This is the New Thing” cover (which arguably betters the original), and TiefenKLANG's spectral electro-dance instrumental handling of “Laughing at Trees” impresses too. Slightly less appealingly, Andy Rantzen guides “Item Number” on an obsessive, eight-minute tour through an industrial facility where machine rhythms get stuck, right themselves, and then push forward before locking into position again.

December 2007