Diagrams may be an unfamiliar name, but the voice will be instantly recognisable: this is the new project of Sam Genders, former co-frontman and songwriter of experimental folkies Tunng.
Diagrams bears all the invention and imagination of the band Genders founded with Mike Lindsay, who has led Tunng since Genders’s departure, but channels it in a different direction. This is crisp, minimalist pop music that fizzes with electronic effects, synth-bass, programmed beats and low-key funk grooves, bringing to mind the leftfield pop of Arthur Russell, Metronomy, Hot Chip, Steve Mason and Peter Gabriel. It’s a new, playfully eclectic side of Genders’s songwriting, but one that maintains the colourful and impressionistic lyrical imagery he’s famous for – Antelope talks of a girl with ‘Tiny ants under her skin, sending messages to her mind.’
A solo project of sorts, Diagrams sees Genders working with a rolling cast of collaborators including Danyal Dhondy (string arrangements), Laura Hocking (vocals), Hannah Peel (backing vocals and trombone) and drummers Matt McKenzie and Tom Marsh. Live it expands to an all conquering nine-piece who made their debut to an ecstatically full tent at this year’s End Of The Road festival. It’s named Diagrams for the defining sound of clean, sharp production and programming Genders has cooked up with co-producer Mark Brydon. ‘I feel like this music is less lo-fi than the music I’ve made in the past,’ says Genders. ‘It’s quite precise and angular in places, so Diagrams felt perfect.’
Watch the videos for Tall Buildings and Night All Night below.