London town is never short of artists creating complex, thoughtful electro; residents including Boxed In, Joe Goddard, Four Tet and a host of others are continuously reflecting the city’s unique magnetism and twilight mentality within their music. Two piece Tender stand confidently amongst their contemporaries with the release of their debut LP Modern Addiction; a purposeful collection of tracks reflecting the collapse of a long-term relationship.

James Cullen and Dan Cobb’s hometown is a notoriously cold place, and the Capital’s atmosphere is successfully reflected in the record’s production style. The sparseness of ‘Hypnotised’ has the ghostly emptiness of a midnight train platform, a bleak and desolate space. ‘Crawl’ is much brighter as an oriental-inspired synth line of echoed reverb opens to an impassioned chorus. The hook is still heartbroken, yet layers of jangled percussion and warm bass notes offer a comforting shoulder to sob on.

‘Erode’ is emotively bombastic as James wails “the odds are starting to stack against me.” It is perfect melodic sad-pop, twitching percussion travelling beneath and high-note strings contrasting against deep-seated synth. ‘Silence’ sounds like a downtempo Glass Animals, there is boldness in mixing instruments and this adds a new dimension to the Tender that has been presented on the LP thus far.

Sadly some tracks feel lacking in imagination; ‘Powder’ makes very lacklustre commentary on our technology obsessed society, “living your life through a lens/ what’s real and what’s pretend?” Its chorus does not however lack ambition; its propulsive synth beats are undeniably danceable, but lyrically it lacks the conviction of a track such as ‘Vow’. Harpsichord opening notes bring SOHN-like synth to the forefront of this sombre album highlight. James’s delivery during its verse is hugely self-effacing. He then proceeds to howl through the chorus with the emotive diction of Theo Hutchcroft.

It often becomes quite difficult to identify exactly what the modern addiction that inspires the album’s namesake is referring to, and the lyrical content doesn’t often make it any clearer. ‘Sickness’ is awash with meaningful metaphors about fruit, religion and more yet it doesn’t successfully leave any sort of impression. ‘Machine’ meanwhile comes back to technology as Cullen croons, “always staring at your phone/ nobody in there with a life worth living.” Fortunately this track is carried by a jungle-like groove and vocal distortions reminiscent of Röyksopp. The analogies between the control of lovers and the control our hand-held devices have over our subconscious is one of the duo’s smarter songwriting moments from the record.

This debut is a strong offering and feels reflective of who Tender are as a duo. There are tracks that fall into a fairly safe middle ground; ‘Erose’, for example, lacks the experimentation of an artist such as SBTRKT and also the pop structure of an artist such as Banks. Meanwhile the pair completely crack alternative pop on stand out single ‘Nadir’. Its skittering introduction of echoed percussion is immediately exciting; its structure feels like it could fall apart at any moment. The lyrical tone here is honest to the point of harshness, “getting bored during foreplay and I think we’re getting fat.” It’s immediately relatable to anybody who has felt imprisoned in the humdrum of a loveless relationship and we find empathetic euphoria as Cullen cries “need to go our separate ways/ I’m too scared if you stay.” Tender’s Modern Addiction reads like a B-grade school report card: very promising work but could try harder.