Formed in 1978 by jazz musician and radio DJ Marc Moulin, electronics wiz Dan Lacksman and singer Michel Moers, Belgian trio Telex made wonderfully whimsical synthpop, taking cues from Kraftwerk but adding a bubbly playfulness and snarky sense of humor that aimed to be as far away from rock as possible. Their 1978 debut single was a giddy cover of Les Chats Sauvages' 1961 Francophone rock n' roll number "Twist à Saint Tropez" that predated records by Silicon Teens, Tubeway Army, M's "Pop Muzik," and The Flying Lizards, and planted seeds for Depeche Mode, OMD and more. They were also infamously Belgium's official Eurovision entry in 1980 with "Euro-Vision," a song that mocked the competition and was made with hopes of coming in last place. (Unfortunately, Portugal gave them high marks and they placed second to last). They also worked with the likeminded group Sparks for the 1981 album Sex, and later covered their classic "The Number One Song in Heaven."
This week, Mute Records is releasing a new compilation This is Telex, which was overseen by the band's Dan Lacksman and Michel Moers (Moulin died in 2008), and features songs remastered from the original tapes. They include their most famous songs ("Twist à Saint Tropez," "Moskow Diskow," "Euro-Vision"), Sparks collabs “Drama Drama” and “Exercise Is Good For You,” and a couple of previously unreleased covers: The Beatles' "Dear Prudence" and Sonny & Cher's "The Beat Goes On." You can pre-order now and listen to a few tracks below.