Saturday, November 13, 2010

Small Black - New Chain review

I got my hands on a copy of the debut album, New Chain, from Brooklyn-based band Small Black back in October when it was released, but trying to listen objectively was proving to be rather difficult.  With so much blogger bullshit (blogshit?) floating around about so-called "chillwave" bands, I found it to be somewhat of a chore to give this album a thorough listen from start to finish.  This isn't to say I don't like "chillwave" music, quite the contrary, however when the internet gets a hold of an idea (or in this case, a genre), it can be trying to separate ones own impressions and opinions from that of the masses, hence why this review is coming at you a little late.
With all of that being said, let's get down to the album.  I was impressed with Small Black's self-titled EP, which was like electronic glitter hiding underneath an incessant wave of distorted sound.  It was familiar, yet oddly other-worldly, accessible but distant, you get the idea.  The electro-thrashings and subtle melody of "Despicable Dogs" made it interesting to listen to, something new to be discovered with every listen.  With New Chain, the band sticks with this formula.  "Camouflage", the album opener, is a jarring yet agreeable song with a slightly off-kilter hook that leads perfectly into "Search Party", a 1980's New York City cocaine anthem.  "Photojournalist" is a bombastic, trippy affair, with a drugged out chorus that will undoubtedly have fans singing the lyrics that they think they hear in unison.  It's not all electro-pop goodness however, as New Chain does have a couple of faulty links, songs like "Crisp 100s" and "Light Curse" plod along without ever really going anywhere.  Overall, the album certainly lives up to the "chillwave" name, so if you're a fan, definitely check this one out, otherwise it might be wise to simply download a couple of the standout tracks.

Small Black - Despicable Dogs

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