Release Date: Jun 3, 2014
Record label: Moshi Moshi Records
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Indie Rock, Neo-Psychedelia
In 2008, a record called ‘Little Death’ by the Reading band Pete and the Pirates was released, and there was much rejoicing. In a year diluted with try-hards, here was a band adding a more accessible pop edge to the rattling guitar rock of the 90s: Pavement seeped through the nonsensical lyricism spattered across ‘Little Death’ like a Picasso painting; the full-throttle thrust of Superchunk soaring through its guitar lines like a teenager in a supercharged Peugeot 106. Simply put, ‘Little Death’ was excellent, and its successor ‘One Thousand Pictures’ in 2011 wasn’t a half bad stab at the formula either.It wasn’t long after that Pete and the Pirates seemingly dropped off the face of the earth.
If the core elements of a band release music under a different name, what difference does it make? Quite a bit in the case of Teleman, who formed from the ashes of Pete & The Pirates, with the distinctive vocals of Thomas Sanders the most immediate connection between the two acts. That’s not to say that Teleman are a radical change. Where once there was slightly fuzzed up, bouncing indie with a distinctive singer, now with Teleman it’s a sparser, more synth-led indie, with the same distinctive singer, weaving strangely dream-like lyrics around the music.
Emerging from the vestiges of shamefully neglected mid-00s Reading indie dreamers Pete and The Pirates, Teleman sound as though they mean real business this time around. With former Suede guitarist Bernard Butler taking charge of production duties here on their debut album in addition to support slots with big hitters including Bernie’s old charges as well as Franz Ferdinand, Metronomy and Maximo Park, the quartet seem to have their sights set well above the toilet-circuit ghetto. Singer Tom Sanders’ deadpan Thames Valley drawl remains, but twitchy post-punk and stately 80s electronics have replaced P&TP’s indie-rock sparklers.
Rising from the ashes of small-time indie intellects Pete and the Pirates, Teleman have caused quite a stir in the U.K.'s trendsetting circles lately. Since debut single "Cristina" breezed its sleepy Kraut-pop aesthetic through the nation's airwaves, the Brighton-based quartet have been hotly tipped as the next big thing. .
Teleman's debut album is, for most of the band, their third: until 2012 they were the Pirates to guitarist Peter Hefferan, too overshadowed by the Mystery Jets to find their own limelight. For a good chunk of Breakfast, change stops at the band name: frontman Thomas Sanders still yelps like Blaine Harrison, with strains of Brett Anderson and Stuart Murdoch; Mainline thumps the life out of its melody; Travel Song skips along like a tune from children's television, altogether twee. But there's another chunk – spacious, silken, shiver-in-the-pulse seductive – that marks a huge step forward.
When Reading’s Pete And The Pirates split in 2012 it wasn’t exactly greeted with hordes of near suicidal fans mourning the end of an era. The band had never quite made an impression in a market saturated with similar, run of the mill average indie guitar bands, but 2014 marks a return for three of the ex-pirates as they team up again for new act Teleman, now based in London. And they’ve already made far more of an impression than when in their previous guise, support slots for big indie acts such as Maximo Park, Franz Ferdinand and Suede bringing them to the attention of many as did 2013 festival appearances at both Glastonbury and Latitude.
Teleman formed from the ashes of Pete & The Pirates, perennial nearly-men of the mid-00s. With indie-rock’s middle tier more squeezed than ever, the London outfit’s chances of success in 2014 seem sadly remote — and ‘Breakfast’, for all its modest attractions, never quite transcends its talented-journeyman origins. ‘Cristina’ is the lead track and standout, a downbeat slice of organ-led psych worthy of Metronomy’s recent ‘Love Letters’ album.