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It’s now so easy for bedroom musicians to produce electronic music that the sheer volume of the stuff makes it difficult for individuals to stand out from the masses. With Diagrams though, Londoner Sam Gender (in cahoots with a number of collaborators) has already nudged his head above the crowd.

‘Ghost Lit’, the opening track on this debut full-length, is low-key, slightly melancholy, but very pop, with slices of brightness permeating the haze. In fact, a minor chord sheen hangs over large chunks of this record, an indefinable sadness penetrating the beats. There are moments where ‘Black Light’ takes on the  feel of a Damon Albarn solo project;‘ Tall Buildings’, though, is a punchy, slightly funky effort that recalls Hot Chip, and elsewhere there are brief passages of euphoric crescendos of joy.

The standout track here is ‘Mills’, with a piece of mass-appeal lyrical clarity that will resonate with many (“It’s just a job, it’s not who I am”), while ‘Genders’’ obvious craft and creativity is tempered somewhat by one or two uninspiring, self-indulgent electronic wig-outs. Still, on the whole, ‘Black Light’ is a paradox worth buying into.

By Chris Watkeys

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