Temposhark - Threads

Troubled relationships and self-obsessed women.

Rating: 6

What do you do when you have a go at entering into an already over-populated genre? Well, it boils down to one of three things: you think outside the box and try to distinguish yourself; you play it safe and remain in thrall to your influences; or you cop out entirely and go for What You Think The People Will Like.

Electro-pop is now reaching such a saturation point. While it seems as though it will never be in danger of burning out in the way what was referred to by some as ‘landfill indie’ did (remember that?), the old adage of ‘too many cooks spoil the broth’ seems rather apt. Here’s where Temposhark, AKA Robert Diament comes in. His 2008 debut ‘The Invisible Line’ was a good start, but unfortunately the follow up seems to be more of the same.

For a start, he seems to still be interested in one thing only: a four-letter word called love. It’s just about the only topic addressed here. Thank god he didn’t overdo it and tip over into mawkish sentimentality. The songs on ‘Threads’ mainly deal with troubled relationships, and other such things as self-obsessed women (fantastic lead single ‘The World Does Not Revolve Around You’), failure to move on when it all falls apart (‘Stuck’) and desperate pleas for help (‘Say I’m Sorry’). So it’s not all sunshine and roses then, thankfully. Lyrically, ‘Threads’ is quite a mixed bag, veering from the brilliant and direct (‘We almost had a shot at something special, but we never made it past the superficial’) to lines that make you think, ‘how did he get away with that?’… such as pretty much everything on the title track, which goes down like a lead balloon.

Diament does his best Justin Timberlake impression on ‘Bye Bye Baby’, an early standout, but its impact is reduced significantly by him repeating the trick with ‘Stuck’. There’s little originality left in this genre as it is, but come on, you’re not doing yourself any favours. He goes for the stadium-rock crowd with the soaring optimism of ‘Green Lights’, a song that will surely be a single at some point as it ticks all the boxes for success. The anthemic track sets up the best run on the album, followed by the rush of ‘Fireworks’, which itself gives way to ‘Say I’m Sorry’, marking a return to a slower tempo for the unexpectedly groovy song. It helps to add a bit of ‘oomph’ to an album’s finish, and the R’n’B stomp of ‘Frames’ serves its purpose brilliantly, before the piano ballad ‘When I Last Saw Matthew’ brings ‘Threads’ to an end.

While Temposhark isn’t simply ripping off others wholesale (unlike some others we could mention - isn’t that right, Owl City?), his music quite often lacks the spark of inventiveness that it desperately needs. While ‘Threads’ is the kind of album that could quite easily be successful under certain circumstances, Diament really needs to start thinking, because it’s now a case of sink or swim.