Telepathique: Last Time on Earth

Photo: Marcos Hermes

Telepathique is a bilingual electro-funk duo from Brazil. Their debut album attempts to merge pop sensibilities with club-oriented tracks, but only succeeds about half of the time.


Last Time on Earth

Label: The Control Group
US Release Date: 2008-08-05
UK Release Date: Available as import

Sao Paulo, Brazil's Telepathique is a dance duo who seem equally inclined to rock out and to make your booty shake. Mylene Pires provides the vocals and the attitude, while DJ/drummer Erico Theobaldo provides everything else. Originally released in South America in 2006, their debut album Last Time on Earth is now making its way to North America. The disc is a mixture of several different dance styles, with a base in electro and pop/rock. Unfortunately, these mixtures only succeed about half of the time.

Pires has a solid singing voice, but she spends the bulk of the album doing breathy speak-singing or whispering. The few times she gets to really sing, it's very effective. But for much of the rest of the time, her vocals tends to sound monotone and stripped of emotion. Theobaldo can't resist messing with vocoder and other effects to make her sound even more robotic at times.

Last Time on Earth works best when the songs have a solid, catchy dance hook or a strong pop idea. The mid-album combo of "Telefunk" and "Kabalah" illustrate Telepathique's biggest weaknesses. As grooving tracks intended for the dancefloor, the pair of songs make for 11-and-a-half minutes of solid beats. But as musical compositions, they're repetitive and boring. The hook in "Telefunk" has worn out its welcome by about two minutes into the song, but the track drags on for 6:30 before sliding into "Kabalah." A vocal vamp and keyboard solo both pop up in the final minute, but neither are particularly interesting and they show up far too late to rescue the song. The keyboard line goes on to become a hook for "Kabalah", which has a mildly catchy vocal line and even a distorted guitar solo. Once again, though, none of these elements are enough to sustain interest in the song for the 5:04 it lasts. The album's penultimate track, "Wild", suffers in similar fashion. It sounds like a mid-tempo chill-out tune with pulsing electro sound effects, but there isn't much of a hook to it at all, there are no vocals, and it goes on for nearly eight minutes. On the other side of the spectrum, "Love and Lust" manages to become repetitive in under three minutes. It's basically a pop tune driven by the spoken chorus "Love came fast and took my baby / Lust came here and ate my candy", which is repeated about 15 times and quickly morphs from a catchy phrase to a very annoying one.

But there are songs on the album that succeed, and succeed wildly. Opener "Deja Vu" lets Pires sing out, and Theobaldo pairs her vocals with a succession of cool sounds. There are several different crunchy guitars swirling through the song and the underlying percussion changes back and forth between straight rock and jungle beats. Lead single "I'm Not the Man" finds Pires taking on the persona of an arrogant creep trying to pick up a woman. It's bracing and clever to have a sexy-sounding woman take on this role, and Theobaldo keeps the song interesting with solid sonic choices and a groove that changes subtly throughout the piece. Then there's "Sex and Drugs and Funk 'n' Roll", probably the highlight of the album. It opens with a choppy guitar riff, adds a catchy bass complement, and harmonizes Pires with herself on the ultra-catchy chorus and throughout the song. There are also spoken word sections peppered throughout the tune in both Portugese and English, and Theobaldo manages to keep the fun going through the full six minutes, even though the vocals end about four minutes in.

It's difficult to merge pop sensibilities with club-oriented tracks, and Telepathique struggle with this throughout Last Time on Earth. The songs that work, though, are great. If the band figures out how to strike that balance all of the time then they may go on to do fantastic things. But for right now they're sort of stuck in between, and that only makes for a mildly listenable album.


Cover down, pray through: Bob Dylan's underrated, misunderstood "gospel years" are meticulously examined in this welcome new installment of his Bootleg series.

"How long can I listen to the lies of prejudice?
How long can I stay drunk on fear out in the wilderness?"
-- Bob Dylan, "When He Returns," 1979

Bob Dylan's career has been full of unpredictable left turns that have left fans confused, enthralled, enraged – sometimes all at once. At the 1965 Newport Folk Festival – accompanied by a pickup band featuring Mike Bloomfield and Al Kooper – he performed his first electric set, upsetting his folk base. His 1970 album Self Portrait is full of jazzy crooning and head-scratching covers. In 1978, his self-directed, four-hour film Renaldo and Clara was released, combining concert footage with surreal, often tedious dramatic scenes. Dylan seemed to thrive on testing the patience of his fans.

Keep reading... Show less

Inane Political Discourse, or, Alan Partridge's Parody Politics

Publicity photo of Steve Coogan courtesy of Sky Consumer Comms

That the political class now finds itself relegated to accidental Alan Partridge territory along the with rest of the twits and twats that comprise English popular culture is meaningful, to say the least.

"I evolve, I don't…revolve."
-- Alan Partridge

Alan Partridge began as a gleeful media parody in the early '90s but thanks to Brexit he has evolved into a political one. In print and online, the hopelessly awkward radio DJ from Norwich, England, is used as an emblem for incompetent leadership and code word for inane political discourse.

Keep reading... Show less

The show is called Crazy Ex-Girlfriend largely because it spends time dismantling the structure that finds it easier to write women off as "crazy" than to offer them help or understanding.

In the latest episode of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, the CW networks' highly acclaimed musical drama, the shows protagonist, Rebecca Bunch (Rachel Bloom), is at an all time low. Within the course of five episodes she has been left at the altar, cruelly lashed out at her friends, abandoned a promising new relationship, walked out of her job, had her murky mental health history exposed, slept with her ex boyfriend's ill father, and been forced to retreat to her notoriously prickly mother's (Tovah Feldshuh) uncaring guardianship. It's to the show's credit that none of this feels remotely ridiculous or emotionally manipulative.

Keep reading... Show less

To be a migrant worker in America is to relearn the basic skills of living. Imagine doing that in your 60s and 70s, when you thought you'd be retired.

Nomadland: Surviving America in the Twenty-First Century

Publisher: W. W. Norton
Author: Jessica Bruder
Publication date: 2017-09

There's been much hand-wringing over the state of the American economy in recent years. After the 2008 financial crisis upended middle-class families, we now live with regular media reports of recovery and growth -- as well as rising inequality and decreased social mobility. We ponder what kind of future we're creating for our children, while generally failing to consider who has already fallen between the gaps.

Keep reading... Show less

Gallagher's work often suffers unfairly beside famous husband's Raymond Carver. The Man from Kinvara should permanently remedy this.

Many years ago—it had to be 1989—my sister and I attended a poetry reading given by Tess Gallagher at California State University, Northridge's Little Playhouse. We were students, new to California and poetry. My sister had a paperback copy of Raymond Carver's Cathedral, which we'd both read with youthful admiration. We knew vaguely that he'd died, but didn't really understand the full force of his fame or talent until we unwittingly went to see his widow read.

Keep reading... Show less
Pop Ten
Mixed Media
PM Picks

© 1999-2017 All rights reserved.
Popmatters is wholly independently owned and operated.