Before the 80s craze really took hold in 2009, Temposhark’s debut The Invisible Line almost seemed fresh. Their annoyingly addictive hooks and determined beats were instantly unforgettable. Pairing their distinct pop songwriting alongside collaborations with Sophie Solomon and Imogen Heap assured that The Invisible Line was a credible affair. Fast forward two years and the 80s have been more than covered, thus a rethink was needed. Still drawing inspiration from the Pet Shop Boys for their second album Threads, Temposhark have chosen the 90s as their focal point. With the 90s not viewed as wilderness years for music have Temposhark made a foolish decision?
Though it shouldn’t work, something about it does.
Threads certainly doesn’t lack the immediacy of The Invisible Line. Hook heavy with repetitive, simple lyrics, Temposhark are determined to get the catches caught. However, this can be both a positive and a negative. Temposhark tread the a fine line between genius songcraft and the downright annoying. Lead single “The World Does Not Revolve Around You” appears to be sung at double pace. Lead singer Rob Diament barely able to keep pace, creating a farcical listening experience. Entertaining but for all the wrong reasons. “Stuck” with its 90s r’n’b influences corrects proceedings. Though it shouldn’t work, something about it does. However, following the two-step with the brewing balladry of “Green Lights” falters. It was Diament’s brooding which created The Invisible Line’s distinct flavour, but it seems out of place on the more positive Threads. Inevitably Temposhark also branch out into electro pop with “Bye Bye Baby” and “Frames” proving the high points of Threads until reaching the delicate “The Last Time I Saw Matthew”. Stripped of the overblown vocals, Diament is vulnerably irresistible.
Threads demonstrates a versatility which The Invisible Line lacked. By experimenting, Temposhark have proved that they can get it both right and wrong, which usually would create a poor overall reaction. Yet there is something likeable about Temposhark and their blunders are forgiven and simply assigned skip status.