Diagrams is the solo project of former Tunng frontman Sam Genders, who left the band in 2007 to express his ambitious vision of electronic-folk music on his own terms. There is nothing on Black Lights close to what its title evokes. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. It’s stuffed with luminous instrumentations, caressing guitars, warm vocals and drum beats bouncing against funky bass.
There are traces of Sufjan Stevens’ playful and intricate melodies on ‘Animals’ and ‘Antilope’ with reminiscences of poppier acts such as The Notwist on the lead single ‘Night All Night’ and the synthetic lullaby ‘Peninsula’. Genders is a patient and meticulous composer and as a result of that, his first LP is as well-built and rich-sounding as it is sometimes, over-produced. He’s got a whole lot of plans for his songs with many musical roads to take, some brilliant and some useless ideas, and he wants to try it all. Case in point, the title track immediately swarms with tons of effects and buzzing beats, resulting in the melody being lost just as instantly.
Genders proves on Black Lights that he has many talents and skills to make a career on his own, but next time it would be wise for him to take a step back from his work and let it breathe.