Monday, 12 May 2014

Album of the Week #23

Artist: Teleman
Album: Breakfast
Year: 2014
Label: Moshi Moshi

Rising from the remnants of late noughties indie pop outfit Pete and the Pirates, it could have been tempting for Teleman to rest on their laurels and on the reputation of their former incarnation. But with the swooning, electro-tinged 60s melodies of debut album Breakfast they have already managed to carve out a sound that is both familiar yet totally their own. Despite just one change in the lineup, drummer Hiro Amamiya joining the former pirates Tom Sanders, Jonny Sanders and Pete Cattermoul to form the band, the shift in sound from guitar-heavy indie to boasting a more blissful and melodic electronic edge has been sharp yet apparently effortless.

Whilst Pete and the Pirates boomed with a restless energy beneath their catchy guitar pop, Teleman have taken on a droid-like appearance and their music appears almost robotic in patches. However, that's not to say the group have ditched personality in favour of a more sleek and assured sound. 'Steam Train Girl', for instance, shares characteristics of both. It is precise, exact and confident in its delivery, yet its motoring melodies and instrumental climax make it the life force and beating heart of Breakfast. Imagine Kraftwerk with guitars and you're halfway to understanding it.

Elsewhere, the Velvet-esque ambient balladry of '23 Floors Up' and 'Cristina' display the group's personal touch and canny knack of finding that addictive melody that served them so well as Pete and the Pirates. And though guitars still feature on Breakfast, it is the keyboard and synths that feature more prominently, and as the album progresses, they come to define Teleman's sound. Perhaps the trio needed a clean slate to edge the six-stringer into the background, but it has worked a treat. A range of ideas are explored on Breakfast and it has all the hallmarks of a group exploring yet still finding their feet and their own sound.

If the amalgamation of guitars and synths is the one thread running right through the record, that notion is perhaps summed up most pertinently in album closer 'Travel Song.' Quite literally a song of two halves, the first is a pleasant enough stomp with nods to new wave and Motorik via Pirates-esque indie. Yet the band move head-on into Motorik territory after a brief lull in sound, harsh guitars and robotic vocals clashing and colliding as Sanders' fitting vocal hook of I'm not in control, I'm not in control soars and soars and soars in mantra-esque fashion. It is a thrilling end to a thrilling record, and the sound of swirling synths guiding the song to its abrupt climax is emblematic of an album that successfully blends the old and the new to create one of the most exciting efforts of 2014.

'Breakfast' is released on 26th May by Moshi Moshi Records. Until then, you can hear some of the tracks from the album on Teleman's Soundcloud page.

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