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Let's call it Gleadless Gothic.

A dog park in the suburb of Sam Genders' new home of Sheffield gets a mention on 'Gentle Morning Song', but as a cipher for what; the songwriter's escape from the hustle-bustle of London to gentler Northern climes? Whatever the intention, the lovely song recalls 'Girl' from Beck's halfway house album Guero, and other, even more familiar notes abound on Diagrams' second full album.

Genders' former partners in Tunng occasionally affected a British Sea Power-like eccentricity which this reviewer found sporadically grating. On Chromatics Genders moves decisively to grab the centre ground in much the same way Super Furry Animals did with Phantom Power. The lead single from Chromatics carries the same title - it would be unhelpful to mention this coincidence, were it not for the reality that Genders' voice sometimes strays confusingly close in tone and delivery to Gruff Rhys, particularly on the album's title-track, which is only missing a smattering of slide guitar to make it sound coterminous to a Furries B-side.

The indie-plus-techno equation that the Welsh heroes revel in is also explored, although the songwriter and arranger never breaks out into full-on electronica, preferring to allow echoing beeps and beats to garland, rather than drive his compositions. The senses and smells of the countryside (or at least, the not-inner-Metropolis) are apparent all over Diagrams' new record, which glimmers with wispy reverb and maintains a largely positive message of renewal and re-emergence.

For the most part, Chromatics is a perfectly nice concoction of charming folk and scatty electronic noise. If 'You Can Talk To Me' is a bit plaid, a bit well... Radio 2, then 'Shapes' is more beguiling, particularly for fans of English pastoral ambient music. If you've ever found solace in the Beatrix Potter Museum in Windermere during a rain storm, or visited Rievauxl Abbey during a bout of thick fog, you'll appreciate the track's air of restrained melancholy. It is interesting that we can now accept ambient electronica as a fitting way of embodying the natural on record, rather than the old hat acoustic guitar and flute. It's a progression of sorts.

And it's a formula that works for most of this record. 'Dirty Broken Bliss' is the stand out in that it seems to come from nowhere, and drags the rhythm of the album up by the throat. The track has a gospel-y feel, as well as glam synth and another apparent nod to Gruff Rhys (sounding, as it does, an awful lot like something Neon Neon might have come up with). 'Brain' reaches for, and achieves the anthemic, albeit in a very relaxed mode. Nothing over-reaches into the jarring, or ambitious.

On the whole, Chromatics is a well-meaning collection of fairly eclectic rock which will find favour among fans of the previous generation of spacey-indie types. It doesn't stray very far from this template, but does just enough to suggest Genders has a few more strings to his bow. In the end, 'The Light and the Noise' is probably the clearest indication of its temper: a giddy, smooth, mid-tempo rocker with glistening psych edges that aren't allowed to impinge on the cogency of the whole. It's just a nice thing to be around.

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