Back to Cambridge for Teleman; this time playing to a much larger audience in Junction One.
Support act were Cambridge five-piece Lunacre, confidently rising to the occasion on the big stage. With keyboards, guitars and intermittent saxophone they have a varied palette of sonic textures to choose from and the songs show restraint and subtlety as the instrumentation drifts in and out to create a relaxed, hypnotic sound.
The title track from their new EP ‘Schtum’ is a highlight as are the sax and vocal layers on ‘Occam’s Razor’. ‘(Re)Cycle’ had the insouciance of a song by the fast rising band Glass Animals. Best of all was ‘Engine’, including driving drum pattern and full-on bass punch, showing off the wide range of the band.
Teleman have a spring in their step, with an appearance on BBC music showcase ‘Later…with Jools Holland’ last week, many sold out dates on their current tour and two albums of quality material to perform. I saw them in April and since then they have expanded and refined many of the live versions of the songs to fill the larger stage (also including a frenetic lightshow and columns of steam for ‘Steam Train Girl’!).
They benefitted from the recently improved sound quality in the Junction, especially for some of the raucous edgy guitar parts and some foreboding keyboard moments. The drumming of Hiro Amamiya was spot-on and adds so much to the glorious ‘Dusseldorf’ and the celebration of ‘Skeleton Dance’.
My favourites tonight were the double keyboard electronica of ‘Brilliant Sanity’, the quiet desperation in the vocals of ‘Drop Out’ and the triumphant final song ‘Glory Hallelujah’ where the chord progression just seems to be different from anything you have heard before.
Hopefully now they will get the recognition they deserve (but I will miss them playing smaller shows in the Portland Arms!)
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.