Teleman – Steam Train Girl

Singles / Words

04 Jul 13

Fans of Pete & The Pirates should head to Teleman for round two of Tommy Sanders’ buoyant wordplay, which first got an airing on the band’s debut, Christina, a gentle, melodically-soaked ode to Christina, whoever she may be.

Steam Train Girl – which has seen 6 Music support – is a simple stitch-up. If a train journey is liberating and escapist, what on earth happens when you reach the end of the track? It’s this fodder that has cornered scientists into dusty corners for centuries.

Teleman define these thoughts with razor-sparp rhythmic bass and heavily worked vocals with an oak-aged feel; in ode to flourishing in fields – and day-dreaming about girls on trains. “It’s not so complicated now” Sanders points out in a moment between chorus mode.

The ascending hype surrounding Teleman – aided by their label, they’re a Moshi Moshi signing – must be duly filed under the “there’s always room for guitar music with pretty lyrics” sub-section of the buzz-band guide, 2013.

But it is debut ‘Christina’ that wows with an even bigger heart – Teleman’s debut LP is an exciting prospect.

My accidental niche within this critical triumvirate dictates that I’ll observe how effectively ‘Steam Train Girl’ summons from the pages of the Songbook-o’-1967 the tonal nuances of a pop vintage; as if the guys have stood next to a Velvet Underground amp and bottled some particularly reverberant chords.

But I’d also remark on how, having bolted themselves together from the flotsam and jetsam of defunct act Pete and the Pirates, Teleman aren’t offering pastiche, but a quirky collection of elements. Watch their video, of some industrial smashing of things together, and consider the contrasting muted menace and floaty choruses as modern re-housings of old components.

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Pete And The Pirates will live on in Reading folklore, but times change. Up ye rise Teleman. Ex members of Pete And The Pirates’ new outfit. New track ‘Steam Train Girl’ has charm and character, chugging along in a steady fashion. Though at times I get the ill feeling that it is teetering on the brink of some psychedelic breakdown; some strange eyed madness. Maybe it’s that queer 60s synth sound or the Ophelia-like repetition “Down Down Down” it goes… Whatever it is, it’s making me edgy.

It could just be because it’s a song about trains, and trains definitely make me edgy. Whizzing along in a metal container on a giant scalectrix track… It’s insane. As a child, whenever confronted with Scalectrix I would spend my time with the throttle pressed down hard, knuckles turning white, watching my plastic rocket hurtle around the track at wild speeds, eventually flying off at a corner in an imagined tragic glory. I have seen that same madness in the eyes of various train drivers. Only Scalectrix fiends and madmen travel by train.

You have been warned. ‘Steam Train Girl’ is here. Teleman are here. Who knows what’s next.

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Check Teleman's Steam Train Girl video - on the band's official Youtube page

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