4,000,000 Telephones
The Most Careful


The numerical name suggests agitated activity, a mind-warping, brain-spinning lack of control. It screams FRENZY! But 4,000,000 Telephones actually mumble 'Careful'.

For the most part their sound is packed out with taped voices rumblingly classy basslines and guitar scratches, held together by an undercurrent of synthesisers. All too often they trip themselves up with bisybisy rhythms, and drag themselves down by suffocating their material. 'French Girl' runs out of ideas long before its completion, while the quasi-crazy calypso of 'Each Minute' is insipid and nigh-on irritating.

The saxophone is their saviour: flowing and dipping across 'This Time', it offsets the clinical air induced by their fussy tempoes and frantic paces. Likewise, 'She's There' goes against the grain, with a sweeping violin clearing away synthetic excesses and allowing the slow-paced song to breathe.

The experimentalist peak arrives with 'No': a death-knell tolls, 'Twinkle Twinkle Little Star' crawls from a nursery nightmare, and innocuous TV cut-ups combine for an eye-widening aural holocaust. Yet there's too much politeness for anger to take hold. The half-spoken vocals convey desperation and honest urgency à la Pete Wylie, but are forced to battle for attention above the kaleidoscope of noise. And lyrical vagueness further weakens the furious resolve.

To smooth for the 'avante funk' Northern hipsters, yet insufficiently mellow to adhere to the conformists' idea of popular material, 'The Most Careful' is simply TOO careful.

Simon Williams
New Musical Express, 28 May 1988

What's this then? Talking Heads goes fusion? Intellectual music, anyway. Rich, clear sound, good singer. Though it's not pop the songs have their hooks. The closest to rock'n'roll the band gets name one track "Miracle Workers".

Ratbeat, Finland, October 1988

Les 4,000,000 Telephones occupent la ligne de l'anxiété, avec un pop-funk qui émarge parfois aux climates lourds et entêtés d'un Velvet Underground. La surabondance des saxes et le frileux de l'ensemble en font toutefois un groupe un peu trop crispé et pensé pour séduire d'emblée.

Christian Larrède
Les Inrockuptibles, December 1988.

Es ist die 2.LP der 4.T., mit der sie musikalischen weg von ihrer ersten härteren, 'more noisy' LP eine neue musikalische Richtung zu Melodie zum Pop einschlagen. Durchweg eingangige, tanzbare Songs mit Hitcharakter, ein wenig jazzig vielleicht, Gott sei Dank nur ein wenig, ein bischen afrikanisch, gerade genug, jedoch mit viel zuviel guten Ideen und Melodien, mit Charme und Eleganz; was befürchten lässt, dass diese Platte nur allzuschnell in Vergessenheit great, da zwischen Hip Hop und Ami-Rock der Platz für eine Band wie die 4.T. eh schon recht klein ist.

Demi
Pop Noise