The Love of Diagrams debut record seemed to have past me buy. Released back in 2003 it was almost entirely instrumental, but it turns out that it bares almost no resemblance to the Love of Diagrams (LoD) circa 2007. Seemingly bent on carving a new niche for themselves, Mosaic sees LoD absorb some new-wave and post-punk leanings.
Recorded in Steve Albini’s Chicago studio with Bob Weston on production duties you might be expecting something raw and harsh, but, whilst this is something that’s hinted at in the album, it never quite materialises. It’s a perverted pop record. Like Siouxsie and the Banshees, who these guys bring to mind frequently (see Pace or The Patience and MS v Export) they had an edge but they always made music you could dance to. There’s plenty to admire here, the buzz-saw guitars and feedback driven songs like At 100% all have an element of intrigue, but there’s something missing. The brushed sheen of the production is very hard to get past, the buzz of the music and the harsh vocal delivery make LoD a hard band to love. Sure, you can look cool whilst you listen to them and the Factory Records look alike front cover brings to mind all that’s good and great about the late 80’s and early 90’s indie music, but it just feels a little too much like style over substance, as if they’ve tried too hard to be someone else.
Whist there’s a number of moments where you find yourself enjoying those angular guitar riffs and Gang Of Four vocal tweaks, it becomes apparent that this is an album that you can pick apart to all it’s separate influences far to easily. It doesn’t gel very well together, it fails to add up and you’re left feeling just a little bit cold by the experience.