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Album Review: Telefon Tel Aviv Releases First Album In 10 Years 'Dreams Are Not Enough'

The spirit of Charlie Cooper lives on through the new Telefon Tel Aviv album.
Telefon Tel Aviv Josh Eutis

Telefon Tel Aviv was a group that helped shape the direction and sound of experimental electronic music in the 2000s. With the EDM boom bubbling up in the late aughts, Telefon Tel Aviv was something different in that growing noise. After three influential albums, founding member Charlie Cooper tragically died in 2009 and brought the project grinding to a halt – presumably forever.

Earlier this year, co-founder Josh Eustis announced he had made a new album under the Telefon Tel Aviv name and was ready to release it. He had spent the decade after Cooper’s producing and mixing for bands of all types, but it was time to revive the Telefon Tel Aviv name with Dreams Are Not Enough.

The LP feels like a continuation of the more melodic parts of Immolate Yourself. The album has a pensive, thoughtful and measured feel to it. Songs slowly grow into themselves, building with disparate elements and then form into something new like an alien blob coming to life.

The album starts off, as it will throughout the record – with an oscillating synth line that grows by the end of the song. It gets slightly glitchier on “a younger version of myself,” with a faint piano occasionally fluttering in the background before giving way to the dark and slow “standing at the bottom of the ocean;” which feels like a heavy weight is sitting on your chest.

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The album's center finds itself in quagmire of murky and dark synth tracks that slowly build with pitched synths gaining volume and intensity as the faint sound of a voice echoes in the background.

The album takes a left turn into a track “not breathing” that could have come from their first two albums with 808s and flat drums firing all around you. It is a dark club or rave tool that somewhat sticks out. The album eventually finishes with the synth heavy and ambient “still as stone in a watery fane.” with wild flourishes of mechanical strings and rising synths.

Telefon Tel Aviv is a name that garnered minor cult status after three great albums and then the project cut short after the death of one of its founders. Living up to those expectations can be hard when careers cut off at their peak suddenly and unexpectedly. Eustis had a tall task to try and keep the name alive and he has done exactly that with an excellent LP. 

Stream the album below via Ghostly and get your copy here.

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