TELEFON TEL AVIV: On Immolate Yourself, for the first time, the workflows of Charlie Cooper and Joshua Eustis merge into a single vision.
The best feature of Immolate Yourself, a seemingly endless supply of potential energy that leaps from track to track, flipped swiftly into its saddest upon the news that Charlie Cooper — one half of the duo, with Joshua Eustis — had been found dead in Chicago on January 22. Telefon Tel Aviv have always been the product of two drives (both senses), but on Immolate Yourself, for the first time, the workflows of Cooper and Eustis merge a single, renewed vision. They go a bit poppier than they've ever gone, yet it's also their darkest work.
The laser-show lead synth that seems to have drifted over from a Kraftwerk interlude doesn't brighten the bleak heartbreak of "You Are the Worst Thing in the World," but its insistent rhythm track cuts through like a little streak of white-hot hope. The troubled title track could as easily be lightly sung as muttered nervously into one hand — yet it retains an artful uncertainty, a sort of composure despite its disjointedness.
"Stay Away from Being Maybe" remains the album's brightest spot, with its strange plodding cheer, hazy washes of faux strings, and arguably kickin' bass line. But its lilting falsettos, fed through layers of woozy delays, convey a bit of Cooper's turmoil — a tacit lament that even at our closest, there must be such distance between us.