I picked up Telegraph Canyon’s “Why Let It Go” 7″ single and was blown away. So I knew I wanted to give You From Before a spin when it came out. Why Let It Go doesn’t really give away the vibe that Telegraph Canyon is laying down on You From Before, and that’s ok.
The sparse soundscape that remains steady throughout Hundred Years, is an absolutely perfect way to start a record. Compelling and interesting, full of layers that demand a second listen and third listen to make sure you’re picking up all the variations in the arrangement. You want the song to build into something big and when the string section sings at the end of the track you feel your heart leap, but even in the new section, the song never climaxes much past where it’s remain since it’s beginning. Flood is one of the most interesting tracks on the record to my ears. It’s a folk song with a quirky side. The synthesizer line the runs underneath the track keeps it from being stale. On a record full of interesting indie rock, Flood feels a little out-of-place. As the track builds and takes on more character, it makes sense. But I still feel like it’s placement on the record is just slightly off.
I loved Why Let It Go as a single, and I still love it. It feels like an homage to the 80’s without ever feeling dated or like a new wave wannabe. The guitar riff is slick and interesting, never feeling as repetitive as it actually is. The hook is catchy and it makes for just a great pop song.
There’s a whole section where You From Before feels like an album I wish Wilco would’ve recorded. Wilco never fully embraced what could’ve been a killer indie rock record. Hung Up is less country but utilizes a start/stop motif that I’ve heard from Wilco on occasion. The bounce of the guitar that pulses on the verse of Old Hearts is both jarring and attention grabbing at the same time. The rawness of the guitar is excellent and creates this beautiful tension between the verse and chorus. Mantle feels exactly like my favorite Wilco tracks. Inviting and warm. Lightning is as big and bombastic as a rock song that you’ll great from Telegraph Canyon, but you can hear how it’d play well in a stadium with thousands of screaming fans.
Again, when the band goes folk, it’s not my favorite moments of the record. The banjo on Haunted Woods is jarring and the song feels less out-of-place later in the record. And Telegraph Canyon keeps it weird and not a traditional folk song. But it’s still not one of my personal favorites. The waltz of the piano that drives Wheel To The Garden is one of those beautifully unexpected twists that catch you off guard in a good way. The 6/8 time signature is refreshing. The synth line on Honey almost demands to played in an arena. You’re waiting for something epic that you know isn’t coming like you want it to. But when the chorus hits, it’s catchy and nice. Magnetic is a nice subtle ending to the musically roller coaster that is You From Before.
You From Before is interesting. Whatever else you might say about it, you’d have to say it’s interesting. Telegraph Canyon has put together a musical journey, and it’s worth taking the journey with them. There are some moments that aren’t my favorite, but there’s more to love and it’s all interesting. 4 out of 5 Stars.