Music Review: Temposhark's The Invisible Line

by Molly Kenney

According to Temposhark, the band behind the new album The Invisible Line, they are wildly popular with the U.K. underground. Either the Brits like tinny, sing-song lyrics that lead to migraines, or I’ve found another British custom I don’t understand.

Temposhark’s debut album relies on nursery rhyme-like lyrics with repetitive techno beats. (This is Temposhark's first full length release although the group has released singles and EPs since 2004.) The Invisible Line seems meant to be listened to with several drinks and a couple thousand of your closest friends at a generic Euro club. But The Invisible Line had me rubbing my head to relieve the techno-induced pain — and I hadn’t even left my desk while listening.

“Don’t Mess with Me,” “Blame,” “Little White Lies,” and “Not that Big” (featuring Imogen Heap) follow the same principle of repeating the song’s title as much as possible with synthesized, atonal orchestral backbeats. “Crime,” a touching ode to S&M, sounds like every other techno song that provides the soundtrack for sketchy men to grope women in clubs.

Vocalist Rob Diament (formerly of Killing Joke) stepped up the lyrics on “Is It Better to Have Loved” and “Battleship,” and while the songs sound very similar, they showcase Diament’s vocal ability in a way the other songs can’t possibly. On “Is It Better to Have Loved,” Diament slowly sings: “The sky has drained now I must live without / How suddenly the whole world can change overnight / How suddenly the whole world sings your name.” This gives the track the feeling of a regretful daydream.

“Battleships” feels like a raspier version of a boy band ballad moving very slowly through outer space, but it pulls you into the weird ride.

Temposhark tries to straddle the electropop line, but on The Invisible Line, they fall short. Diament has a decent voice and “Is It Better” and “Battleship” prove the band can write more than sing-song background music for drunk adults. If Temposhark channels its seemingly hidden talent, then maybe their next album won’t be so forgettable.

(Temposhark's The Invisible Line will be officially released tomorrow, March 25. The promotional photo of Temposhark is by Jim Dyson for Defend Records. To see a video of Temposhark playing "Blame," cut at New York City's The Annex in the fall of 2007, please check below.)

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