Tellison are truly a wonderful band and how they haven’t broken into the mainstream (despite a few flirtations, such as their short skit on TV Show The Inbetweeners) is truly beyond me. That said, from a purely selfish perspective and having followed the band closely since ‘Demo #2’, I sincerely hope it remains that way.
Long-standing fans of the band will certainly not be disappointed with ‘Hopes Fading Nightly’, Tellison’s third album release. Taking influence from Weezer/Jimmy Eat World, Tellison write perfect indie/pop songs with a distinctly British accent and grit. Repeat: Tellison write perfect songs.
It’s been five long years since Tellison’s second full length, punctuated by small tours and solo performances from the band’s lead singer Stephen H Davidson. In fact ‘Letter to The Team’ is largely a folk-based introductory solo piece that could have equally presented as an opening to Stephen’s solo record. Lyrically the track sets the tone for the album (which is on the whole a witty reflection as to their predicament struggling through education to obtain low-paid employment, a position shared by many), with Stephen H, taking responsibility (as “manager” of the band) for the bands “failure” to attain greater success.
From the delicate opening, the album builds and develops into a flawless record. Whilst the instantly catchy ‘Tact is Dead’ is correctly placed as the lead single, ‘Orion’ and ‘Mendoskusai’ are arguably the best two tracks Tellison have ever written. Upbeat in nature, rare glimpses of lyrical optimism and a drive that will go down well live.
With fantastic production evident throughout (including lush use of electronics, particularly apparent with the use of the bass synth on ‘Rookie of The Year’) and inventive song structures, without any hesitation this album was worth the five-year wait and at the very least matches the quality of their previous output.
Perhaps the reason mainstream acceptance never quite “happened” for Tellison is that they never chased it; that is certainly reflected on this release. Tellison do not adopt the prescribed format or tired lyrical approach that is more easily accessible for the masses. Instead they have always taken a unique and exciting slant on indie/pop built upon the foundations of a punk rock heart, and that’s what makes Tellison presently peerless in the UK and beyond.
‘Hopes Fading Nightly’ by Tellison is out now on Alcopop! Records.
Words by Mark Bussey.