When I was a child I dreamt of running away with the circus, but now I’ve seen Thee Telepaths I want to run away with a psych rock band. Last Friday they played at The Cat Basket Psychedelic Delights event at The Blue Moon in Cambridge, alongside local stalwarts Psychic Lemon and Warning Shadows. As I was to compere the event I spent all week listening to their Neon Spiral EP online, but hearing them perform War In My Head left me gasping “Oh, its just like Sister Ray said!”. Needless to say, they credit The Velvets as influences, alongside The Stooges, The MC5, Black Sabbath, Suicide, The Modern Lovers, Can, Neu!, Billy Childish, Loop, Mudhoney, Spacemen 3, The 13th Floor Elevators, Hawkwind, all these distinctive sounds smear through their music.
Seeing them live I was swept up in their raucous energy, and I was reminded most that they name-check Nuggets and Pebbles ’60s Garage Band compilations on their Facebook page.
Added to this Thee Telepaths have a heart-lurching stage presence that gleamed in the backroom gloom of The Blue Moon. A Wilko Johnsonesque wide-spread low-slung sprawl from bassist Tim often overspilled the space, at times he straddled the stage and dancefloor, so wide did he spread his lean thighs. Singer Dean seemed lost in possession, veering around the tiny stage like Ian Curtis on acid. Clasping his head in the crook of his elbow, grimacing, gurning, jerking a hand-jive that shook his whole body, crouching on the ground, staccato movements that wouldn’t look out of place at a Voodoo ritual. The Singer Loa-ridden called forth Papa Legba, and Baron Samedi on keyboard at his side. Tom, on keyboards, guitar and effects, was strutting confidence, spinning on the spot, manipulating piano keys, effects pedals and guitar strings with assured dexterity. The drummer, Vincent, an eight-armed Hindu god blurred in motion, beat out insistent in the gloaming upstage.
The whole a heavy writhing spellbound pandemonium, while pinprick coloured lights swept across my eyes and the ceiling.
Thee Telepaths are clearly a band with social media savvy, they are visible on Facebook, Twitter, Bandcamp, Soundcloud and Youtube, but as they are touring right now, you would be doing yourself a big favour to catch them live.