The Telescopes (recommended if you like Jesus and Mary Chain, Spiritualized, Verve)

Biography by Jason Ankeny
“Dream pop cult icons the Telescopes formed in Burton-on-Trent, England, in 1986 — singer/guitarist Stephen Lawrie, guitarist/singer Jo Doran, lead guitarist David Fitzgerald, bassist Robert Brookes, and drummer Dominic Dillon comprised the original lineup, which in 1988 issued its first single, Forever Close Your Eyes, a split flexidisc with Loop issued on Cheree in honor of the two groups’ joint New Year’s Eve performance. The Telescopes’ official debut single, Kick the Wall, followed a year later, its feedback-laden trance-rock earning the band critical comparison to the Jesus and Mary Chain and Spacemen 3 — 7th # Disaster appeared in the spring, and in the summer of 1989 the group issued its breakthrough effort, The Perfect Needle, its debut for the American indie label What Goes On. The Telescopes’ debut LP, Taste, closed out the year, and in 1990 the Fierce label also issued a live LP, Trade Mark of Quality.

When What Goes On went bankrupt, the Telescopes relocated to Alan McGee’s Creation label, where the white noise assault of their early releases gave way to a more ethereal, textured approach with 1991’s Celeste. In the wake of the gorgeous Flying, which reached the number 79 spot on the U.K. pop charts, the Telescopes issued their first Creation LP, a landmark effort officially known as Untitled. Sculpted from shimmering guitars, sinuous basslines, and soulful rhythms, the record remains a classic of the shoegazer era but its success proved the band’s undoing, and after contributing a reading of “The Good’s Gone” to the Who tribute album Who Covers Who, the Telescopes dissolved in 1994, citing creative differences. Lawrie and Doran reunited in 1996 in the likeminded Unisex, releasing “TV Cowboy” — one half of a split single with Good Morning Canada — in mid-1997. An EP, Deadlock, and a full-length, Stratosfear, followed on the U.S. indie Double Agent before Lawrie and Doran revived the Telescopes’ name for 2002’s Third Wave.”


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