Under-rated yet adored in equal measure, Teleman returned to Pompey on their current tour – their first as a 3 piece. On the eve of the release of their Sweet Morning EP, the band offer a set of angular, twisting pop songs drawn from each record (three albums so far) that highlight the fact they have been one of the most consistent UK bands of the last few years.
Opening the set with stand- alone single ‘Strange Combinations’, its hypnotic, pulsating melody and rhythm sets the tone for the night. Bassist Pete Cattermoul is a kinetic, bounding force stepping in to play keyboard and synth too, he’s almost at times a one man backing band for lead singer Tom Sanders. With the recent departure of Tom’s brother Jonny to the line up, it certainly means that the sound has lost some of its fullness in the live arena. It should be said though that this leanness compliments the stripped back, carefully arranged sound they’ve always had – debut single ‘Christina’, for example, is still a wonderfully simple pop song that seems almost built for this numerically reduced set up. Slight deviations in sound from their recordings is also seen in one of the best songs from the last album – ‘Submarine Life’. Sanders’ vocals are vocoder-less live but its hypnotic groove bursts into almost Donna Summer style modular synth for the final third.
The set relies fairly heavily on the more synth heavy tracks of theirs – there’s no room in the set for the more traditional rock tunes (and fan favourites) ‘Mainline’ or ‘Glory Hallelujah’ – though ‘23 Floors Up’s’ stirring guitar sound remains and adds a nice bit of bite to the midpoint of the show. New songs are aired live, the lyrically reflective ‘Right as Rain’ feels apt at this general stage of life right now whilst the new EP’s title track ‘Sweet Morning’ offers a particularly tantalising glimpse at what a full record co-produced by Hot Chip’s Joe Goddard and Al Doyle could sound like. It’s unshakeable pop sensibilities taking the looser, synth sound from last album ‘Family of Aliens’ and running with it. It’s a joyous moment of the set, a set which finishes with ‘Song for a Seagull’, its soaring chorus feeling like it’s still ringing around your ears even as the band leave the stage.
The band return for a three song encore. The first of which is a beautiful rendition of ‘Sea of Wine’ which is a slightly slowed version of the album track. Old faithful, ‘Not in Control’ comes next though does sound a little like it’s being aired out of audience desire rather than band compulsion. They finish on a high though – ‘Düsseldorf’ is all spikey Franz Ferdinand style guitar lines yet still laced with that composed, methodical pop they do so well – and leave to rapturous applause.
Photo: One Beat PR