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Telltale's New Self-Titled LP Balances Introspection With Experimentation

Kayla Moreno May 17, 2024

Recently, Rock Insider Press had the chance to sit down with John Carteret from Telltale to discuss their forthcoming record. A perk of the gig is getting to hear albums before anyone else. I'm a huge fan of not only the vow of secrecy I take when I listen to a new drop before anyone else but, also how new-to-me artists make their way into my regular rotation. Telltale, and their self-titled LP, are certainly examples of this; any preconceived notions I may have had of the band based on social media presence or word-of-mouth were rendered useless, in the best way possible. You must listen to the record for yourself to get the full picture.

Telltale's writing style provides an introspective exploration of the self, guided by dreamy melodies and a beat that would be contagious to even the most stubborn wallflower. Nobody can escape a catchy hook; it doesn't matter the genre, any band that can write a hook as good as the one in "kissinginacarcrash" is going to hold up against the brutal test of time. Sure, Telltale writes classic pop-punk, but their spin on it refrains (pun intended?) from the group feeling stale among peers and audiences. Against all odds, a song like "kissinginacarcrash" is what most bands hope that they can write one day. The "a-ha" moment that takes an artist beyond hole-in-the-wall venues.

Plus, Telltale's immaculate attention to detail is a standout. The follow up track to "kissinginacarcrash" is aptly called "EDDY," an immediate callback to their namesake, Edgar Allen Poe. The entire record is full of literary references, Easter eggs for those in the know to unpack. And if it's one thing us English majors love to do – it is analyze literary references. Again, the hook in this song is phenomenal; the band shouts themselves out, while breaking the fourth wall and calling out their full namesake, Poe's famous Telltale Heart. Attention to detail is another element that allows a band's career to span across decades. The breakdown in this song is crazy, truthfully.

The record, as a body of work, does many things impeccably, but the band's dedication to cohesion shows through tremendously. There is an even balance of "butt shakers" and earnest, ballad-adjacent tunes. "Gettin' Sober" proclaims, "I don't wanna be a let down anymore" which is anthemic for anyone who has struggled with their mental health.

Telltale is, primarily, a pop-punk band; however, I notice a few metalcore elements throughout the guitar riffs. Their willingness to experiment with genres, especially those who have staunch believers in traditionalism, could create an unstoppable fanbase. Their self-titled record had me hook, line, and sinker (ba-dum-tss) from the first notes to the very last. Ideally, bands will continue to blend all of the things that made them who they are instead of deciding to be a carbon copy of a scene heavy-hitter. As a listener, Telltale is going to stay within my rotations because they sound like Telltale – and not a band I may have loved a decade ago.

Stream the new self-titled LP here, and keep up with Telltale here.