Teleman at Islington Assembly Hall
After walking away from indie outfit Pete and the Pirates, brothers Thomas and Johnny Sanders and bassist Pete Cattermole embrace a sound of sparse guitar licks and heavy electronics under their new guise Teleman. Neat, clipped and contemporary, the London four-piece are a world away from their earlier indie alter-egos, with a sound garnering comparisons to Alt-J and Django Django.
Teleman’s debut tour arrives in the wake of their first album Breakfast – a record which Tommy Sanders declares took “a very long time to make”. After releasing debut single Cristina at the beginning of the year to a positive critical reception, the band have gained a large following, receiving backing from the likes of Steve Lamacq, Tom Ravenscroft and Marc Riley. Sleek and ultra modern with matching side partings and gaily coloured button-down shirts, they are a picture of uniformity on stage with an electronic sound searching for a Kraftwerk feel.
The first half of the evening at the assembly hall moves at a disappointingly lackadaisical pace. The Teleman vibe of spare electric guitar and dispersed melody mixed beneath a delicate veil of electronics fails to have the same impact on stage as in recordings, lacking the crispness and clarity offered by their studio versions. Rather, Teleman’s first efforts blur into each other in a curdled mash of reverb and plodding metallic scales until any differences between Mainline and In Your Fur become indecipherable.
Things hit a high with the band’s cheery track Cristina, inciting excited cheers from the crowd. A beautiful song with a precise yet resounding melody, light percussion and choral-esque harmonies that float above solid organ chords, it adds a well needed punch of energy to the set. The rest of the evening maintains this buoyancy – particularly Skeleton Dance, which uses close harmonies to navigate the song’s epic builds and drops, 23 Feet Up adding a welcome dose of muddy bass and Steam Train Girl benefiting from a more open, rockier sound mixed with a feel-good sunshine vibe, á la the Beach Boys.
Teleman put on a good show, particularly towards the end of the night, as both their songs and stage manner break free from the frosty confines of their electronic homogeny. Despite this, one leaves feeling a little dampened, not just by the group’s dull stage antics, but also by the nagging feeling that their music could be appreciated far more deeply by simply listening to the record at home.
Photos: Adam Bennett
For further information and future events visit Teleman’s website here.
Watch the video for Cristina here: