TelemanHarvest Sun @ Buyers Club 3/4/16
With Buyers Club packed to the rafters it is difficult to make out how many members of TELEMAN are on stage beyond the melange of greying and balding heads. For better or worse, it’s very much a BBC 6Music crowd in tonight, thanks, likely, to the unerring support of evening DJ and premier tastemaker Marc Riley.
As ever, the mouth formerly known as Lard is bang on the money with this London four-piece (I think there are four). Whilst former incarnation Pete And The Pirates could be dismissed as a fairly average indie band, Teleman are an entirely different and more interesting proposition.
A Guitar-driven Futureheads-light mood has been exchanged for Buggles-inflected synth pop at its finest. There are still the hooks which got the Pirates noticed (if you’ll pardon the pun) in the mid-noughties, but the addition of drummer Hiro Amamiya has given the band a focus and more idiosyncratic sound.
Mid-set highlight and single Cristina is greeted warmly by the crowd as they contemplate a weekend of DIY or taking the kids to Sunday league. Frontman Thomas Sanders is as charming as his chipper vocals suggest, addressing the crowd as a first date between band and audience as this is the opening night of Teleman’s tour, supporting forthcoming album Brilliant Sanity.
As dates go, while the band are the perfect hosts the crowd are a little subdued for the first half of the set, perhaps wondering if this is the best way to spend their Friday night. While the darker tone of some of the newer tracks are met with respectful consideration, Monday Morning, Skeleton Dance and others from 2014’s Breakfast start to get heads and feet moving.
That is not to say singles from the new album do not match in quality. Düsseldorf, which has predictably enjoyed much airplay on music fans’ favourite radio station, sounds huge in the bricked up confines of Buyers tonight. From the synthy opening and the metronomic drumbeat to the soaring chorus, it’s what Teleman do best – distilling 30 years of British pop music, with all its eccentricities and celebrations of hedonism, into a four-minute gem.
The band finish with the paranoid beauty of Not In Control. From demure beginnings to making the venue bounce in unison, the track is the perfect finale. Teleman have no doubt reminded many tonight why they bother leaving the comfort of their homes and radios and why it is worth seeing music in a live context. There’ll be no-one claiming ‘music was better in my day’ this evening.
Sam Turner / @samturner1984