Telefís, the groundbreaking collaboration between two Irish iconoclasts – acclaimed producer Garret “Jacknife” Lee (U2, REM, The Killers) and revered singer/lyricist Cathal Coughlan – present their second album of 2022 — a Dó (October 7th). The album was finished several months prior to the sad passing of Cathal Coughlan on May 18th earlier this year. Telefís is Irish for Television and pronounced Tel-eh-feesh. It’s also a nod to the post-punk heroes of the late 70s that dwell in Jacknife and Cathal’s collective consciousness. Their first transmission arrived last Autumn with the twisted electro-funk of “We Need” , a cheeky and satirical look back to the early days of TV in Ireland and the memory fragments of their youth. But as with all of Cathal’s lyrics, there are contemporary lines drawn to today’s power structures and hierarchies. Flights of the imagination ensuring that nothing is ever quite what it may appear.
The duo had already completed ‘a Dó” (Irish for number two) earlier in 2022 prior to Cathal’s decline in health. So now that his family has encouraged us to continue on, it will stand as a testament to the endless creativity and songwriting genius of one of Ireland’s most beloved musical figures of the past 40 years. Jacknife Lee notes…“his dying was always a part of these songs. Not literally but the reflections and the examination of where he came from. After his death we could have waited and I accepted that we might have to, but now I just want to celebrate Cathal. I want people to know that he was active up to the last few days. We were working on a 3rd album – writing and planning. I know that might have been something to just take his mind off his illness, but that was the way he dealt with the situation and I want to honour that. There are many layers to Cathal Coughlan. The mischief and the profound melancholy. It’s on show on this album. It’s some of his best work. His death will show how deep these lyrics are, how playful he was when writing stuff like this knowing what lay ahead of him. It shows his commitment to words and ideas. It’s his life.”
Their debut album ‘a hAon’ (number one), released in March, playfully dissected the early days of Irish society in the TV era through a prism of electronic dance music, drawing on what they saw as a ‘corrosive nostalgia’. It also paid homage to their musical heroes of the punk and post-punk era. But amongst the muscular beats and distressed synth stabs there were also strange ballads, haunting melodies and somber reflections. ‘a Dó’ continues to broaden these sonic horizons and opens up the band’s output to outside collaborators. We have guest appearances from Cathal’s longtime friend and Microdisney co-founder Sean O’Hagan on the first single “Space Is Us” , Echo & The Bunnymen’s Will Sergeant guests on two tracks, legendary Mancunians A Certain Ratio on another. The inimitable Jah Wobble also contributes bass smarts following his dub odyssey with the band on their single “Falun Gong Dancer” earlier this year.
The last words belong to Cathal himself who wrote these thoughts several weeks before his death…
“Tales are spun & mis-spun, spanning the initial, tentative arrival of colour TV transmissions on Irish public broadcaster RTÉ in the early 1970’s, reaching depictions of the high technology of 1981, all the way to the private agonies of the photo model guy who tries to sell you cloud storage services for 2023. Yes, you excitable TikTokers and bemusable Dad Rockers, Telefís is here to pick your minds – clean – once again!”