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The Invisible Line

(Defend; US: 25 Mar 2008; UK: 3 Mar 2008)

Having bummed around London’s swanky underbelly for a couple years now, the glossy electro pop quartet known ambiguously as Temposhark has earned a notable fan base in the UK (they say Björk likes ‘em, but I’m incredulous to that fact). With a appearance at 2007’s SXSW and their debut album on North American soil looming, they’ve thrown their hat into the ring to see if they’re more than an idiosyncratic English fancy. And sure, there are some really catchy little ditties here, which place the songwriting emphasis on quirky turns of phrase and bubbly supporting melodies. Four-four beats abound, layered in sexed up synth squeals, raunchy basslines, and the odd piece of cheeseball guitar.

They aren’t Goldfrapp, though, and the lyrics of Banksy collaborator Robert Diament are more on the whiny emo side of things than seductively sultry. As such, when they tone down the BPM and become more contemplative, it’s much more tolerable musically, if not spiritually. The highly synth-phonic intro “Don’t Mess with Me,” which is gracefully accented by the violin of Sophie Soloman, sets you up to expect something with a lot more depth and variety. Yet, that song’s line “I’ve come, it’s been fun / But won’t you please disappear / Something tells me you can’t further my career” pretty much destroys any credit I’d ever bestow upon them as artists. “Battleships” benefits greatly from a stuttering beat allowed the room to breathe, but it’s hard to take lyrics about a child’s board game seriously. Maybe Operation or Mouse Trap could support an entire song, but not Battleship. It’s all so juvenile. With Temposhark’s poetical capacity at the level of an elementary school dropout, it looks like another day of struggle for emotronica.


Compelled to words by music since 2004, Ranta's words have appeared in such esteemed publications as Exclaim!, Tiny Mix Tapes, CBC Music, and PopMatters. He also regularly votes for the Polaris Music Prize, Village Voice Pazz & Jop, Juno Awards, and in all local, provincial, and federal elections. Based in East Vancouver, he's been known to a rave and/or rant, cat whisper, play basketball, pessimistically root for the Canucks, and read far too many comment sections. He graduated with distinction from SFU in 2012, with a bachelor's degree in music.

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