One of the newest additions to the Ottawa music scene is Telecomo, a three-piece garage rock band that are set to release a tape this week. The group itself is new, but the members are long-time veterans in town.
Telecomo is a trifecta consisting of lead vocalist and guitarist Adam Saikaley (Ceremony/Hilotrons), bassist Gary Franks (Roberta Bondar/Ceremony), and drummer Pat Johnson (The Acorn/Silkken Laumann). As you can tell by this not-so-motley lineup of musicians, this band is a powerhouse stacked with three dudes that simply wont quit. Because why would they?
Their debut release, the Promo Only EP, contains four quick and grimy tracks that will reel you in from the first measure. I think the world could always use some more fun and punchy garage rock, and that is exactly what this band is offering us. The simple chord structures, unflashy vocals, and lo-fi aesthetic give this EP a genuine throwback feel. The Detroit garage rock gods of the 80’s would surely open their scuffed, wrought iron gates for Telecomo.
“Telecomo started up with Adam having the idea of writing some honest, minimal pop songs in a garage rock setting,” explains Franks. “Vocals up front and clear, guitars plugged straight into the amps, with the aim of being as succinct and sincere as possible in 4 minutes or less.”
Although four songs isn’t a whole lot to go off of, Telecomo has succeeded in getting their message across loud and clear: they’re fun, fast, and unreserved. They’re in your face and raw, but accessible at the same time. Right off the bat, “I Met You” sets the tone by allowing the listener to sink into Gary Franks’ flowing bass line, which is fantastically woven in with Pat Johnson’s rhythm and Adam Saikaley’s overdriven, fuzzed-out guitar chords. Each song similarly follows suit, and the the melodies are ever-present and completely irresistible.
“Around” teases us with a dark bass line-heavy verse that explodes into an chorus with reckless abandon, all the while being tempered by Saikaley’s fitting monotonous vocals and despairing lyrics. My favourite track, “Someday,” finishes off the EP by building gradually and delivering a refrain that maybe, just maybe, we can all identify with deep down as we grow older. “And all I know is / It took a long, long time to get here / And I keep thinking / Have I wasted all these years / On my fears?”
Some people may think garage music is just fuzzy power chords and unimaginative structures, but Telecomo is proof that there is more to it than just that. A little band chemistry, depth in instrumental fortitude, and damn good songwriting can go a long way. So that begs the question: what’s next for Telecomo?
“There is a lot more Telecomo to come,” explains Franks. “Right after our show this Thursday, we’re driving to NYC to recorded with Jonathan Schenke for two days. We’re hoping to get a 7″ and a full length album out from that session before the end of the year… and then tour and tons of merch!”
Telecomo is releasing their Promo Only EP tape with Mushy Gushy and DJ Lamb Rabbit at Black Squirrel Books this Thursday, May 12, and also playing at the brand new venue Bar Robo on May 21 with Homebody, Brave Radar, and Whimm. Listen to the EP below.