Side projects are usually a means of branching out from the suffocating restrictions of being a small cog in the bigger wheel of the band. They're a means for an artist to express themselves, go their own way, expand themselves musically. With his Tunng offshoot Diagrams, Sam Genders dares to be different, on his debut solo album Black Light he plants his feet firmly inside his comfort zone preferring to photocopy the Tunng template and serve up a blend of English folk and gentle electronica, or folktronica as it has been somewhat obviously termed, familiar to fans of his main groups oeuvre.

The album opens with the mid paced, riff driven 'Ghost Lit' and the faster paced 'Tall Buildings' which sound like collages created from crumbs that dropped off the Sufjan Stevens' kitchen table. Genders' warmly melodic voice is cut from the same cloth as Sufjan's making it difficult to ignore the similarities to the Detroit troubadour. 'Night All Night' is located closer to Midlake territory, its heavily repeated, and somewhat inscrutable, chorus could be kindly called naggingly insistent or, less kindly, rather annoying.

On the funky, or at least as funky as folktronica gets we're not exactly talking James Brown here, 'Antelope' Genders throws everything but the kitchen sink in an effort to raise the album above the ordinary and dispel those Sufjan comparisons. This approach succeeds as it's head and shoulders above most of the tracks on the album with the notable exception of the title track which is almost worth the entry fee on it's own. 'Black Light' is one of the few tracks on the album to break free of the folktronica straightjacket, fizzing and popping like a rice krispie cake in a glass of Coke.

A few years ago folktronica felt modern and interesting. It was a breath of fresh air bringing new life to a rather tired and unfashionable genre. Unfortunately it's quickly become as formulaic and as dull as its progenitor. Black Light is not a bad album, if you're a fan of Tunng or Sufjan Stevens. I just wish that Sam had taken a few steps out of his comfort zone and let his hair down a little instead of producing an album that could easily have been the latest Tunng album.