Tellison – The Wages Of Fear

By Andy

So TELLISON – having made us wait the best part of four years for their second album proper – have only gone and put it up for streaming on their Facebook page months ahead of release. Predictably, this is down to an early illegal leak, but nevertheless, if you’re yet to go and give it a listen for yourself, we advise you do so immediately (legally, of course).

You’re back? Good. We hope you agree with us then, when we say that ‘The Wages Of Fear’ is not only one of the best indie-pop albums to arise out of the UK scene in years, it could seriously be one of the best records of 2011. Tellison have long been regarded by the select few that have given them the time of day as one of the most underrated bands this country has to offer and with this, they have proved that irrevocably.

‘Get On’ picks up swiftly where ‘Contact! Contact!’ left us hanging back in 07, full of their trademark pop sensibilities, while Stephen Davidson hints to the album’s delay in its lyrics (I may have some writer’s block/but I’m still useful to you/we’ve had a bad year/we’ve lost everything). What follows are forty-odd minutes of confident, intelligent and inexcusably catchy pop-rock, designed for the select few but appealable to the masses.

Where ‘Contact! Contact!’ fell down was in its inconsistency of flow. It felt like an album that had been pieced together at the last minute and while there were sufficient hits within it, it is but a distant memory after a listen or two of ‘The Wages Of Fear’. This is a seamless record where every track feels well-placed, every lyric feels honest and every hook has been honed to perfection. Lyrically, Stephen and co-vocalist Peter Phillips are the sharpest they’ve ever been, whether they’re telling the tale of a suggestive French dentist in ‘Freud Links The Teeth And The Heart’ or considering an end-of-the-world love affair in ‘Rapture’.

Above all, when a band waits this long to follow-up on a debut, it rarely delivers on their initial promise. While the Internet will be abuzz with commentary on the unjust position Tellison have been put in to limit the damage of an early leak, let’s not forget the most important thing: Tellison have not only exceeded expectations, they’ve moved the goalposts for everyone that follows and created something that really does stand up as a contender for record of the year (and we’re only in bloody April!)

Well done Tellison, the mainstream is now yours for the taking.


To hear ‘The Wages Of Fear’ stream in full, head over to We hope that if you like it, you will buy your copy on June 13th.

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