Tele Novella, House of Souls, Yellow Year Records
Austin, Texas pop-psych band Tele Novella have at long last released their debut LP: House of Souls.
Natalie Gordon (Agent Ribbons) moved down to Texas from Sacramento, California with her former band, then in 2013 after a series of “happy accidents”, formed Tele Novella with Sarah La Puerta (keyboards), and former members of Voxtrot – Jason Chronis (bass, vocals) and Matt Simon (drums).
‘Sacramento’ pays tribute to Natalie’s hometown in a song that speaks of the hometown that always has its roots coiled through you via creeping, retro-infused melodies in the guise of a haunted house story straight from the mind of Shirley Jackson. Equally enchanting, ‘Carpathia’, is a romantic mirage kissed by the psych country soul of Lee Hazlewood.
Standout track, ‘Heavy Balloon’ speaks of the continual frustrations of limitations and control. It is propulsive, perfect 60s tinged pop with substance that sees Tele Novella standing shoulder to shoulder with the likes of Belle & Sebastian and Camera Obscura. The equally ingratiating and slyly acerbic cabaretesque ‘Even Steven’ ups the ante in a dancy, creepy send-off of calculating people insatiable for anything they can get.
‘Waiting on an Answer’ and ‘Dead Canary’ put Natalie’s versatile vocals on display in driving, 50s country singer torch song style. Expressive bass and percussion paired with sophisticated, minimalistic flourish on the part of Sarah add a Carnival Of Souls ambiance. It’s easy to lay it on thick with carnival characteristics, but Tele Novella do so in a way that’s evocative without being heavy-handed.
In ideal bookend to ‘Sacramento’, ‘Victorian Terrarium’ takes a final trip down memory lane, examining the ephemera of what brought you to your current place in life and how such seemingly innocuous objects define us.
In their fun, addictive psych pop debut album, Tele Novella balance sweet and sour in equal measure all the while offering up dreamy escapism with a bite.