Teleman, Portland Arms, Cambridge, 9 April 2016

Returning again to Cambridge, Teleman had a new second album to celebrate, already gaining airplay and critical acclaim. Supported on most of this tour by the 80s electronica of NZCA LINES, (who I would like to see at a future date) their more than worthy replacement was the casually likeable and charismatic Oscar, who was also their support last time at the Portland!

With his distinctive baritone voice backed by bass, drums and synths/guitar Oscar previewed the pop delights that would appear on his new highly anticipated album ‘Cut And Paste’ released this May. Extensive touring has artfully polished the catchy ‘Beautiful Words’, ‘Breaking My Phone’ and best of all the final song ‘Sometimes’. New single is the reggae-tinged ‘Good Things’, nicely laid-back and summer sounding.

Teleman too were on fine form, mixing the new songs from ‘Brilliant Sanity’ in with many of the highlights of their debut album. Opening with elusive non-album track ‘Strange Combinations’ and up-tempo ‘Skeleton Dance’ their sold-out show was fired-up from the start (they had earlier played a matinee show at The Portland to cope with ticket demand). The title track is cryptic and a bit disturbing (“…I lost everything I ever had, I lost everything in a housefire…”) and ‘English Architecture’ is a tale of quiet alienation.

I enjoyed the relentless groove of ‘Drop Out’ (featuring an incursion into the audience by guitar-wielding Thomas Sanders) and the strange yearnings of ‘Tangerine’. Tonight though the faster, louder songs steal the show with the excellent sound quality allowing that ice-cool but vulnerable voice to sail above razor-sharp backing, ‘Glory Hallelujah’ is as rousing as its title and the double encore of the formidable ‘Dusseldorf’ (one of my favourite tracks of 2016!) and the dark pulsing ‘Not In Control’ ended the set on a high.


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