Teleman – Brilliant Sanity Review

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After debut Breakfast was released in 2014, the resounding feeling towards the London-based quartet Teleman was that of confusion; the whole album was centred around the theme of transport – an ingenious extended metaphor or, particularly for a group that slot into the genre of pop, just plain odd? That’s up to you. The collapse of their cult rock band Pete and the Pirates allowed the four-piece to switch directions and renovate their style to become a more pop-based ensemble under the title of Teleman. Despite this, Teleman are not your average pop band. As well as in Breakfast, this is evident in their latest album Beautiful Sanity; a vastly optimistic unconventional pop record with flashes of their grungy-rock origins, released by Moshi Moshi on 8th April.
Teleman have undoubtedly been inspired by many various artists over the years. Beautiful Sanity showcases a range of techniques snatched from a great array of musical talent; for example, at some points Thomas Sanders reflects the wispy vocals of what I’d imagine a male Florence Welsh to sound like (in Glory Hallelujah most prominently) in opposition to the fiery notes he produces, which are sporadically dotted around the tracklist. They have a simmering The Vaccines-esque likeness to them, yet his individualistic voice puts its own spin on it. Sound wise, we have some hints of Bowie-ness in the tracks Canvas Shoe and Melrose, effervescent synth-pop vibes throughout the whole album, including in the alluring opener Düsseldorf, and an energising garage-band/rock atmosphere backing Tangerine. The album is significantly dominated by enthusiastic retro pop numbers, despite the inclusion of the more restrained, simplistic closer Devil in My Shoe and the obvious rock addition of Tangerine. Saying that, there is a certain degree of an underlying florescence in every tune. It does make the album become somewhat repetitive, but this cannot deter from the fact each arrangement has been crafted in order to provide fans with a polished embodiment of the revival of euphoric eighties-pop. Its refreshingly unusual for a modern pop clan both regarding lyricism and use of the instruments.
Upon reading other people’s reviews, it seems a hot topic of conversation is Glory Hallelujah. The song is definitely a terse statement from the band, proved in how the song simply surges into Sanders’ vocals. The track denotes a story of Sanders thinking he had found his “happy ever after” yet it didn’t work out how he would have liked. This one effectively blends the electronic-synth sound spread across the album with the rock sensations of times passed; it certainly adds an interesting edge to the album. Adding the more fervent pop elements to quite a gloomy subject matter could either promote the sense of confusion surrounding Teleman or cleverly link to the ‘Beautiful Sanity’ ideals of the album by trying to mask an emotional topic with a façade of buoyancy. On the other hand, it does make me think Teleman are pushing the pop vibe a little too far. This track had the chance to be a beautifully sincere ballad yet conforms with the repeated themes running throughout. It ties in nicely but a bit of diversity wouldn’t have gone amiss. My stand-out track is track number one, Düsseldorf. With chords that, to some extent, remind me of Blur’s Song 2, Sanders’ vocal range being advertised incredibly well, and a wonderful use of instruments to infuse pop and rock together, all merge to perform one extremely enticing, dance-inviting track. The album is rounded off pertinently with Devil in My Shoe; for the most part it is merely a synth and drum machine paired with Sanders’ vocals, which sums up the electronic goals this album was aiming to reach.
If anyone will successfully revive the sounds of the eighties, it will be Teleman. Beautiful Sanity exhibits an electrifying range of instruments and techniques combined together to present an invigorating track list, predominantly filled with uplifting electronic numbers that displays an atypical kind of pop music, making for a truly fulfilling listen.

Teleman – Brilliant Sanity = 8/10

Eleanor Chivers

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