Love, marriage and relocation have liberated Sam Genders. With his wife by his side, the man who is Diagrams left London far behind. He by-passed his native Derbyshire and settled in Sheffield, a journey that took him even further away from his previous musical life with experimental folk band Tunng.
It was a move that also put a considerable distance between Diagrams’ new release Chromatics and its predecessor, the 2012 debut album Black Lights. Somewhere along the way Genders jettisoned much of Black Lights’ programmed heart as he approached his songwriting craft in a wholly different manner.
For Chromatics he wrote all of the songs in advance, initially recording them at his South Yorkshire home on his Logic digital audio workstation. Some fifty tunes in total were then pared down to the eleven that would eventually appear on the record. Taking these songs to the studio, Genders then collaborated with producer Leo Abrahams and a raft of other musicians including members of the Diagrams’ live band, Emma Black and Ben Malitskie, The Smoke Fairies, Danyal Dhondy, Sam Ewens and drummers Karl Penney and Fletcher Adams.
The end product is a record of quite remarkable positivity. Chromatics is a musical cipher through which Genders’ current state of mind is magically channelled. The eleven songs capture a different atmosphere that now prevails for Genders; emerging out of the fog of past difficulties it is one that embraces a sense of relaxation and warm contentment.
Echoes of ‘Waiting For The Sirens’ Call’-period New Order and Grandaddy’s ‘The Sophtware Slump’ can be heard percolating through some of Chromatics’ grooves, most notably on the electro-tinged pop of ‘Gentle Morning Song’ and the glorious harmonies of ‘Desolation’. And shades of The Stone Roses can be seen in the dappled sunlight of ‘The Light and the Noise’. But ultimately Chromatics forges its own strong identity, one that is born of experiential hope. 2015 may only be a few days old but already we are looking at an early contender for album of the year.
Chromatics will be released on 12th January 2015 through Full Time Hobby