When songwriter and producer, and founding member of Tunng, Sam Genders last donned his Diagrams hat, captive listeners found themselves truly stunned by the imaginative and inventive arrangements that made up 2012’s debut album Black Light. Having now settled in Sheffield with both a new lease of life and wife, fresh pastures and friendships are what form the heart of the brand new Diagrams album Chromatics.
“Relationships are a constant thread. In all their frustrating, exciting, mundane, beautiful, wonderful, sexy, scary glory,” reveals Genders of the album’s themes. “And there’s lots of hope in the songs. They shouldn’t be taken too literally mind you; in my head Chromatics is life in Technicolor, with all its ups and downs.”
Whilst Black Light fizzed with electronic effects, synth-bass, programmed beats and low-key funk grooves that brought about comparisons to the leftfield pop of Arthur Russell, Metronomy, Steve Mason and Hot Chip, it’s without doubt that Chromatics falls closer to home comforts and marks the next step in Genders’ renaissance. Take lead track Phantom Power; it’s the track which truly sums up what it’s like to find yourself forever reassessing. “It’s about feeling like you’re losing a grip on your sanity at one moment, then feeling inspired and up for anything the next. Or frustration with yourself; yet believing that it’s possible to sort yourself out,” he explains.
You can listen to Chromatics here:
You can listen to the lead track, Phantom Power, here:
DIAGRAMS LIVE TOUR:
Wed 11 PARIS Le Point Ephemere
Thu 12 LILLE La Paniche
Fri 13 BERLIN Comet Club
Sat 14 HAMBURG Molotow Club
Wed 25 MANCHESTER Ruby Lounge
Thu 26 BRISTOL Lantern
Wed 04 LEEDS Brudenell Social Club
Thu 05 LONDON Hoxton Bar & Kitchen
Following the release of Phantom Power late last year, the second single to be released from the album is Gentle Morning Song on 9 March. The song highlights Sam Genders’ unmistakable vocals and songwriting coupled with the production skills of Leo Abrahams (Wild Beats, Brian Eno, Jon Hopkins). Lyrically, it’s a paean to a simpler life of family, work and relationship, yet one tinged with longing as the narrator lies in bed in the early hours. Caught in that twilight place between sleep and wakefulness as his half-dreams merge hope with the hubbub from the streets outside; revellers making their way home, leaving a trail of muted sounds as a dog barks in the distance. He’s happy with this life; safe and secure in bed on a Saturday night. But he would also quite like to be in the pub.
“ … There is enormous hope at the heart of this music … Elbow-like melodies transform his worries into a warm, soft sanctuary …” THE GUARDIAN
“ … Shiny, joyous pop; revealing and uplifting …” MOJO
“ … Crisp and acoustic … a fine slice of priapic synth-pop …” UNCUT
“ … It’s just a nice thing to be around …” THE 405
“ … Lush, infectious chamber pop …” STEREOGUM