What does it sound like?:
I’be always felt blessed: blessed to discover pop music in the heyday of Top Of The Pops; blessed to only hear the punkquake through the grapevine but land up in the record shops with enough wedge for a weekly 7 inch just when the post-punk tsunami of fantastic singles was crashing down; blessed to have The Smiths around for that awkward transition from late adolescence to young adulthood; blessed to be able to witness a whole new musical genre I love grow up before my eyes..
That particular accident of when I was born and how I came to music has always informed my taste. Childhood TOTP made me a respecter of all and worshipper of none (I’ve never been a fan or a completist: I adore Bowie – first pop love – but €11 for everything he recorded between 83 and 88? Pass!) and instilled in me a neverlost love of the perfect uncomplicated beauty of the genuine-tilt-at-a-hit.
But those post-punk records seemed to have another agenda: we will be strange, they said, whether through our cut-and-paste Marxism, weird new zynderzyzur bleeps and bloops, or refusal to polish our sound with chart-conquering sheen, but you will still give us hits, they continued, albeit mostly small ones.
Bands such as The Cure, The Associates and The Bunnymen occupied the charts like interlopers crashing a wedding to which they were not invited. Circus (of Death) freaks The Human League went one better: as an abstract painter might reproduce in perfect detail a dollar bill to shut up a critic who dissed him as having no real talent, they simply made a better classic pop album than anyone else using just a haircut. (Well, half a haircut).
Meanwhile, the numbers 20 to 75 of the eighties charts were strewn with not-quite hits which, while not a million miles away from the stuff on daytime radio, were just too odd to break through to the top.
That this alternative universe of slightly skewed scruffy shoes pop was given its own ecosystem of the Indie Charts was, ultimately, probably not for the best.
(I’m saying a lot of it disappeared up its own rectum).
You know all this already, but I mention it to give you an idea of what I’ve been listening to continuously since it came out.
Teleman, for those who don’t know, are three former Pirates (Of the “Pete and..” rather than the “Johnny Kidd and..” variety – can’t be too careful with this crowd!) plus one. When they came ashore they mostly put away their guitars to make synth and piano based tunes which sometimes recall classic sounds from the eighties, but are always within that playground of slightly left-of-field pop that I was just talking about up there.
It’s not neat ‘n’ tidy enough to have my sister singing and hooting along like Steps’ masterpiece from last year, but that doesn’t mean that the TWO MINUTE instrumental break during Submarine Life, the album’s biggest banger, doesn’t ascend with the same crescendo of gloriously increasing giddiness as the climactic last minutes of Sir Trevor Horn’s strings on The Look Of Love – making it one of the toppermost true pop moments of 2018.
The slow ones are great too: deftly simple but lovely piano lines underlay the ballads leaving their hooks in you after the album is over.
Yes there are some quirky rhythms and digressions, his singing voice is not for everyone and sometimes you can’t understand what he’s banging on about – but they said that about The bleedin’ Beatles too. And XTC.
What does it all *mean*?
It means you should give this album a listen. And if, like me, you have a penchant for left-of-field zynderzyzur-based pop which recalls the titans of the eighties, do not miss!
Goes well with…
The rest of your record collection. Look! There’s still space – just there..
Might suit people who like…
Nice things going in their ears.