It all started in 2010 when cousins Ben VanderHart and Josh Barrett began communing over their shared musical affinities — from Led Zeppelin to Tchaikovsky, the two developed a natural musical rapport in a short period of time. And though they shared no grand history together, these communal rhythmic influences soon led them to begin developing the idea of starting a band. Their tonal musings soon attracted the attention of bassist John-Michael Forman and pianist Dave Hess. And from these conversations, Telemonster first began to take shape.
Their early work drew comparisons to bands like Animal Collective and Vampire Weekend, with the music possessing an enigmatic indie pop veneer that gradually revealed the subtle experimentation beneath. Touching upon aspects of breezy indie pop and lo-fi rock, the band rises above mere influence and is able to create a way of interpreting these sounds which allows them to sustain their own individuality while paying homage to their inspirations. You can hear this process in all its grand theatricality (and occasions of confident subtlety) on their forthcoming record, “Introspecter (Part 1),” which is due out Nov. 2 via Yellow Racket Records.
For their latest single, “Mad in the Night,” the band takes a dive into the subconscious, documenting a “a lovers-quarrel that takes place entirely in one person’s head” according to VanderHart. The song shuffles along within the kind of wistful folk-pop atmosphere that you might hear in one of Animal Collective’s more accessible tracks. The video for the song was filmed in VanderHart’s garage using a kiddie pool and some paint to create the distinctive abstract marbling that seems to swirl in time with the music. They achieved some of these visuals by using a windup boat to paddle through the water and mix the various paints.
Alongside these images, melodies spin and twirl parallel to gorgeous strings as these movements engage and entangle themselves in your senses. The song possesses a polished facade of pop precision, but there’s also an ocean of restless emotions laying just beneath its surface. The band takes our expectations and turns them inside out, giving us something both familiar and unique in the process.