It’s almost impossible to envisage British pop music without the same staid and often quite mundane signifiers. A flag here, a reference to the weather there – it’s all a little beige, a little drag and more than a little washed out.
Teleman, though, seem to avoid this. Utterly English, the band thrives in an imaginary space situated just after psych and just before prog, a space where traditional identity meets the future. ‘Cristina’ for example, is clipped, Syd Barrett-like whimsy in an adorably Auntie Beeb fashion, while ‘Steam Train Girl’ fuses these melodic gifts with a rhythm section straight out of the Neu! catalogue.
A curious mixture, it’s forward thinking in quite a familiar way: just like a Dan Dare comic, it’s a vision of the future that often appears to deal explicitly with the past.
Another, somewhat strange England, the sonic hints within Teleman often point to the early '70s – which is also something of a heyday for Brutalist architecture in this country. Another oft-maligned attempt to envisage an alternative England which never quite arrived, it turns out that Teleman are also fans of this period.
Clash asked the band to pick five striking buildings – find their choices below.
- - -
- - -
Torre Velasca, Milan
This sinister-looking, top-heavy tower is 100 metres tall and was built in the 1950s. It's a modern interpretation of the typical Italian medieval castle, so while it sticks out a bit compared to the historical buildings around it, it's also linked to Italian architectural tradition. (Tom Sanders)
- - -
Barbican Centre, London
The first time I walked through the Barbican Centre I felt like I had been transported into a sci-fi vision of the future. The towering apartments and the water below, the fountains and seating areas, the walkways and lighting. Best experienced after dark. (Jonny Sanders)
- - -
Balfron Tower in Poplar, London
I was in Balfron Tower once for a photoshoot. We were on a balcony and it was really high up. You can see the whole of London. I don't know why the lift shaft is seperate to the main building, maybe it was an afterthought. (Tom Sanders)
- - -
Torre Abraham Lincoln Building, Rio de Janeiro
This enormous, derelict tower stands next to another (which is in use as flats) but these two were originally intended to be the first of 76 similar towers. It looks like a big empty honey comb, and while the interior was never finished, it has been home to up to 300 squatters during its time. (Hiro Amimaya)
- - -
Medienbunker (flak tower), Hamburg
I don't know if this is strictly brutalist in the sense of the modernist movement, but its definitely brutal. It has impenetrable 3m thick concrete walls and is one of many similar towers built around Germany by the nazis, containing anti aircraft guns, air raid shelters and vast amounts of ammunition and food supplies. Hamburg flak tower was later turned into a night club and music school, which is much more fun. (Tom Sanders)
- - -
Catch Teleman on tour this May:
11 Glasgow King Tuts
13 Manchester Deaf Institute
14 Birmingham Hare and Hounds
15 Reading Sub89
16 Bristol Fleece
17 Southampton Lennons
18 Cambridge Portland
20 London Islington Assembly Hall
21 Nottingham Bodega
22 Brighton The Hope
23 Bedford Esquires
And find the band online here.