Telegram, Portland Arms, Cambridge, 29 February 2016

There was quite a good turn-out at the Portland on a chilly Monday night for the double bill of Warm Brains and Telegram. Warm Brains are a trio from London grinding out some dour pop noise, promoting their newish album ‘Big Wow’. There was some punchy drums and what seemed like chords being played on the bass, supporting Rory Attwell’s deadpan vocal delivery. It was a challenging listen (which I like) for most of the set and then the last two songs seemed to move onto a much more accessible plane.

Telegram have a lot going for them, they look extra retro-cool, but not aloof and they have a spirited palette of songs and musical styles. Matt Saunders is a charismatic frontman, with vocal tones combining a Welsh lilt with the stylings of early Bryan Ferry. They do have a glam-rock/Roxy Music vibe going on; (sometimes playing a live version of Eno’s ‘Needles In The Camel’s Eye’) but tonight the sole cover song was a thoughtful commemorative version of ‘Heroes’.
Their original material, mostly taken from recent album ‘Operator’ was tight and addictive, from the opening punch of ‘Telegramme’ to single release ‘Taffy Come Home’. The sound was spectacularly good with the bass-lines standing out and the show was well-paced, with a good building response from the audience. I was very impressed.


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