Review Summary: Telefon Tel Aviv at their creative high.
When Telefon Tel Aviv released Immolate Yourself
this past January, one of the criticisms I levied against it was for the bouts of stagnation it would go through. This wasn't so much in a creative sense, as the duo had made stylistic changes with every release. Rather, certain parts of the record were somewhat dull and did not work quite as well as they should have. In comparison with Fahrenheit Fair Enough
, it simply wasn't as inventive as the duo – Joshua Eustis and Charles Cooper (R.I.P.) – was capable of producing.
Mind you, Immolate Yourself
was preferable to its predecessors in certain ways; the heavy synth usage made for a warmer, more natural sound, and the flawless production helped create an enveloping atmosphere that was exceedingly enjoyable in its own right. Not only that, but it also featured "You Are the Worst Thing in the World", which is one of the best songs Telefon Tel Aviv has written to date. But I digress; Fahrenheit Fair Enough
is still tops as far as I'm concerned.
Contrasting nicely with the heavy, synth-laden characteristics of Immolate Yourself, Fahrenheit Fair Enough
is far more stripped down, particularly "Your Face Reminds Me of When I Was Old", which is as bare and empty sounding as the band would ever get. For the most part, however, minimalism this is not, but Telefon Tel Aviv's downtempo approach builds on a similar foundation. "Life Is All About Taking Things in and Putting Things Out" is the most evocative of these songs placing particular emphasis on sublime melodies and a calm, introspective mood present for much of the record. Without abandoning such vibes, the rest of Fahrenheit Fair Enough
introduces far more complex song structures with the incorporation of breakbeats. "What's the Use of Feet If You Don't Have Legs" and "Introductory Nomenclature" best convey Telefon Tel Aviv's beat-oriented style, and yet neither is particularly similar; the former sounds almost robotic, while in the latter a melodic edge undercuts the impressive rhythmic work.
Following the release of Immolate Yourself
this past winter the band has suggested that the record sounded more "real" than previous efforts. In many ways, they're right; the record feels, for lack of better term, more human than Fahrenheit Fair Enough
. But Telefon Tel Aviv's debut record makes up for it in ways which Immolate Yourself
does not quite touch on, which ultimately makes for a more compelling listen. Although the hooks in Fahrenheit Fair Enough
are perhaps not as strong as they could be, the record's creativity is certainly enough to warrant repeated listening. It isn't necessarily lacking in terms of "real-ness" either, as the title track blends the intricate aspects of the band's style with their lush, downtempo style in what is by far Telefon Tel Aviv's best song. But then, that last bit is true for Fahrenheit Fair Enough
as a whole; quite simply, it's Telefon Tel Aviv at their best.