First Impressions are greatly important and with the apparent popularity of artists choosing names made up of a noun made plural, Diagrams didn't immediately stand out as anything that special. However Sam Genders' latest solo project shouldn't be immediately dismissed. It can be found under the new hybrid genre of folktronica, where acoustic guitars are replaced with synthesizers and drums replaced with samplers, although the core feel of the music remains of a folk origin.
The opener 'Night all Night' isn't dissimilar to Midlake's latest material, with obscure yet intriguing vocals and powerful percussion thrashing behind acoustic guitar chords and backing vocal harmonies. Second track 'Antelope' is full of upbeat female voices and whistled melodies that make dancing almost unavoidable. Throughout the E.P Genders' vocals remain a dominant focal point of the tracks, surrounded by experimental percussion and small flickers of often strange synthesized sounds that jump in and out of the masterfully crafted songs.
Final track 'Icebreakers' has a certain Kings of Convenience feel, with Genders' charming vocals drifting lazily over a finger picked acoustic guitar as powerful string parts collide and a 60's-esque organ adds to the perfect combination of vocals and instrumentation. The eight minute track fades out after three minutes or so leaving a gentle splattering of rain which occupies the rest of the track, joined every now and then by a crash of thunder or gush of wind, which could so easily be playing in the background as you drift off to sleep.
The five track E.P is a small taster of what Sam Genders' is capable of, with Diagrams he seems to be following in the grand footsteps of folktronica pioneer Sufjan Stevens, writing beautiful melodies and lyrics then adding other small aspects that often slip by unnoticed, but the little things and attention to detail make this debut E.P such a success.