Family of Aliens is an elegant album wrapped up in catchy undulating guitars, wonky synths, insightful lyrics and a dollop of playful fun.
Teleman are fun. It exudes from their music and live performances. Collectively they're a steady pair of hands who have released two gloriously fun albums, but most importantly they know what to achieve and how to do it.
On the new album, Family of Aliens
, they continue to sound like they're having a blast, but now there are some signs that a fun-loving existence does have its drawbacks, as the pangs of heartache and melancholy are more pronounced.
The album opens with the lyric “I was driving along the N1. When I saw the light was calling me onwards. And in a second what seemed forever. I was far away standing next to men” over pulsating bass lines and driving drums. It tells us that it's business as usual, but things have been slightly tweeted. The guitars have a little more bite and everything feels tighter.
‘Twisted Heart’ is a standout moment on the album. Opening with what sounds like a boss theme from a 90s beat ‘em up game, it settles into a gentle ballad, before that riff appears and reappears. However, the song never reaches the high of that boss theme motif.
The best bits of the album are when Teleman get locked into the groove and just play. The prog-y/Krautpop outro of ‘Cactus’ is one of the standout moments on the album.
‘Sea of Wine’ slows things down and showcases Teleman’s ability to write elegant, and haunting, piano lead pieces that pull at the heartstrings, as their previous songs pulled at your feet to move and dance. It's inclusion is important. Yes everyone wants to have a good time, but what do you do when the good times end? Write an airy and delicate pop song of course!
Lyrically Teleman are at their best when they pointing out foibles of the subjects of their songs. This is exemplified on ‘Cactus’. “There is no point looking good, if no one ever gets near you, yeah” feeling like a scathing attack on the vapidity of society and hinting to the mental health issues this can cause “It's a 4/4 rhythm, but you never managed to keep in time” ‘Song For a Seagull’ and “good times always die when you call me up” on ‘Between the Rain’ are possibly the funniest lyrics on the album. This playfulness is part of Teleman’s charm which juxtaposed with their spiky skewed synth-pop makes them almost unstoppable.
Family of Aliens
is an elegant album wrapped up in catchy undulating guitars, wonky synths, insightful lyrics and a dollop of playful fun.
The only downside is that some of the tracks drag, especially album closer ‘Starlight’. It is the longest track on the album by a country mile and could easily be trimmed. There is a good song in there, but this has been lost as Teleman got waylaid in having a good time.
As with previous Teleman releases the songs are peppered with flourishes of retro chic fun. And fun is what Teleman do best.