Carrie & Lowell
If you are to make art-rock, you are strongly advised to ensure the art is more than mere watercolours.
Breakfast is Teleman’s debut, but the band have a little history. Three of their number were previously in Pete and the Pirates, a fair-to-middling bunch of mid-Noughties post-Libertines chancers whose main distinguishing feature was singer Thomas Sander’s distinctive, keening warble.
Rebranded and recalibrated, Sanders and his wingmen have now switched to crafting keyboard-driven electro-indie that will hold few surprises for anyone familiar with the oeuvre of Metronomy or Friendly Fires. However, strip away the mannered vocals and synth flourishes, and what remains is basically the same spindly indie they were peddling a decade ago.
Opening track Cristina sets the tone, with its minimalist beat and oddly coy words of sexual transgression suggesting somebody attempting to reproduce the Velvet Underground on a Fisher Price keyboard. 23 Floors Up is that dreaded entity, an on-the-road song (‘The city below could be anywhere’) but it’s difficult to imagine a more pastel, insipid psychedelic outing: it’s a Radio 2-friendly acid trip.
The bleeping, staccato Monday Morning should be retitled Kraftwerk For Dummies and is one of the many times that the production by former Suede man Bernard Butler sounds oddly shrill and tinny. The twitchy Skeleton Dance could, at best, be a Bloc Party b-side, while Redhead Saturday worships Bowie much as a parks footballer might venerate Lionel Messi.
Breakfast passes through your digestive system without even touching the sides – because ultimately, Teleman don’t rock, and nor are they all that arty.