The Wages of Fear sees Tellison back almost four years after their debut album. This time around, Tellison seem focussed and as on top of their game as they have ever been, showcasing twelve great rock tunes.
The opening one-two combo of Get On and their most recent single Say Silence (Heaven and Earth) are pounding, confident slices of emo-tinged pop-rock, taking cues from Reuben and Jimmy Eat World. These two songs are fun and catchy, with chorus hooks that some much bigger bands would kill for. Album highlight Collarbone follows this formula; a fast-paced and clearly heartfelt number. At its best, The Wages of Fear is brilliant.
It is not all about summer festival stomp-alongs with Tellison though. There are some incredibly tender, quiet moments, such as Freud Links the Teeth and the Heart and My Wife's Grave is in Paris. These moments call to mind the more sombre moments from Funeral for a Friend's more radio-friendly ouvre, and are a welcome break from the loud rock moments.
But before you know it, you are right back with the loud and fun rocking Tellison. Songs like Horses deliver a roaring wake-up call after the albums lulling moments. There really is a great deal of variety on show here.
If one was to make any criticism of The Wages of Fear - and believe me, it would be difficult - it is that perhaps the band are too similar in sound to bands like Hundred Reasons and Reuben; They do not seem to have their own trademark that distinguishes them or particularly sets them apart. But really, when they deliver such great rock songs, this is just a petty complaint. On the evidence presented here, Tellison are probably even better live than on record, and with any luck it won't be another four years before they follow this up.