Teleman arrived in 2012 with a penchant for a more electronic-inspired sound compared to their previous indie-rock incarnation Pete & The Pirates. They’ve since managed to mature this sound on a production and sonic level with each release and have achieved this feat once again with Family of Aliens.
Guitars have taken even more of a backseat in support of the heightened synthetic soundscapes created by the four-piece. It’s evident that as they evolve, they have cultivated and honed in on their sound. “We want to keep discovering. This band is one long journey for us, and we never want to stop developing and finding new ways of creating music,” said frontman Tommy Sanders. “I’m always wanting to better what we’ve done before. To go deeper, to find something more beautiful, more catchy, more challenging, more interesting … just more.”
Flourishing in their beautiful marriage of charming pop sensibilities and throbbing electronic undertones, all the while backed up by sharp lyrics and instantly memorable melodies, this is the most well-rounded release of their career. Kicking proceedings off is the quintessential Teleman title track with its soft, slowly penetrative motorik beat and an instant reference to the M1 motorway.
First single ‘Cactus’ soon follows and is again held together by a throbbing danceable beat as the synths and guitars tussle for possession of the infectious riff throughout. The melody, electronic inclinations as well as fast-paced drum beat wouldn’t be out of place on an LCD Soundsystem set list, as Sanders questions people’s aesthetics in this day and age, “This song is for people who spend a lot of time, money and thought on looking good but can’t actually let anyone get close to them. In youth, most preoccupations are base and wasteful – what to wear, what party to go to, who said what to whom. If you carry these on into later life you might be deeply unfulfilled.”
‘Song For A Seagull’ is another album highlight which really allows Sanders’ melancholic vocals to come to the fore as he explores withdrawing from life. Meanwhile, ‘Between The Rain’ is a piano-led number with a West End musical disposition. After this, utilising an 80s-style vocoder, second single ‘Submarine Life’ sees the four men enter pure Kraftwerk territory, with a minor chord progression pulsating the track down abstract digital avenues.
‘Twisted Heart’ is a heavier composition that should make for a terrific live version, whilst ‘Somebody’s Island’ is another that enters melancholic territory with the songwriter looking to escape the world and go to the moon. ‘Starlight’ closes proceedings in awe-inspiring style in what is an epic synthetic soundscape that borders on a ‘lighters in the air’ moment for its climax.
This is four men who are now fully comfortable with where they are as songwriters, and in possession of a fluid collection of glorious pop songs under the backdrop of a multitude of electronic textures.