Photo: Mary Kate VanderHart

Telemonster “For Someone Not so Old”

It’s been almost a year since Chattanooga’s Telemonster released their LP, Introspecter, Pt. 1, but this is the first we’ve heard of it. They’ve just released a video for the single, “For Someone Not so Old” and there’s quite a bit to like about it. The song comes out of the gates with an immediately addictive guitar break that guides you on a journey through a bizarre film playing in the background. I’m afraid to know any more about the movie than I could surmise from seeing the video. But the song is indie pop perfection in a mid-90s Death Cab For Cutie kind of way.

Telemonster was formed by cousins Ben VanderHart (guitar/vocals) and Josh Barrett (drums) in 2010 after moving to Chattanooga, TN from their respective hometowns in Iowa and New Mexico. Along with bassist John-Michael Forman and pianist Dave Hess, Telemonster released an eponymous EP in 2011 and quickly followed up with 2012’s self-released A Girl I Knew. Since then, they have been writing and recording amidst the disarray of having kids, building a studio, starting a record label, teaching economics, making pottery, and otherwise enjoying a quiet life. Introspecter (implying both “one who looks inward” and “a ghost within”) explores the darker side of human nature within this unassuming context. Against the backdrop of workaday life, it grapples with those insidious impulses that most of us hide or perhaps refuse to acknowledge altogether. 

Drawing comparisons to Sufjan Stevens and Grizzly Bear, the music reflects the many influences at work in the band. The songs are melodic like classical and catchy like pop, but underscored by complex jazz rhythms and the raw energy of rock ’n’ roll. The end result is both cerebral and visceral – it will pique your mind and pluck your heartstrings.