Personnel: Bob Collins (vocals, guitar, keyboards); Rob Grigg (drums).
Recording information: Ranscombe Studios, Rochester, UK (2013-2014).
Photographers: Phil Dillon; Lisa Dillon.
As guitarist and songwriter with the Dentists, Bob Collins was a big part of one of the best neo-psych groups of the '80s, and one of the better indie rock bands of the early '90s. After a time spent working with other people, Collins formed his own band and set about making his first truly solo album. Telescopic Victory Kiss may have been a long time in the making, but the wait is worth it for fans of the Dentists and of thoughtful, guitar-heavy indie rock, too. Any fears that he may have mellowed out or cast aside the spiraling, biting guitars he delivered in the Dentists will be assuaged right away, as "Sunshine of Your Soul" comes charging out of the gate with a bounding energy and scruffy riffs. The song also casts aside doubts about his ability to write catchy hooks, or that his voice wouldn't be up to the task of fronting an album. The rest of the album only makes it more clear that Collins has what it takes, and reinforces the belief that he should have gotten his solo career off the ground much earlier. Songs like "Your Star Is Fading" and "Seven Lives" show off his nimble and rock-solid guitar playing, quieter songs like "Shaking Down the Secrets" or "Wait for December" are fine displays of his skills as a nicely melancholic songwriter, and for Dentists fanatics, "Golddust" references his time with the group in an unsparingly clear-eyed fashion. Telescopic Victory Kiss is the work of a true indie rock survivor who's making music just one tiny step below what he did in his prime 20 years earlier. Considering just how lofty his past achievements were, that's saying quite a lot. ~ Tim Sendra