Small Black New Chain
Lately it seems there's nothing the music world (read: Brooklyn) loves more than a little minimalistic chill-pop. The past year has seen the distinct rise of the faddish chillwave, and nipping at the heels of the movement is New York outfit Small Black, whose New Chain is a alluring minimalist pop record. Filled with fuzzy sonics and M83-esque Casio beats, New Chain simultaneously channels the Human League's catchy new wave, Gary Numan's electric strangeness, and Brian Eno's atmospheric quirk. The album's second song, "Search Party," catches the listener's attention with quick, darting synth notes without overshadowing the track's soft, milkshakey vocals. "Photojournalist" is a wondrous slice of hazy dream-pop, and "Crisp 100s" and "Goons" find the band operating in a similar fashion, layering echoing melodic vocal manipulation over messily blended yet unintrusive electronic beats.
As New Chain drifts forward, Small Black's heavy-lidded, even-tempered tone is much less in-your-face than that of its poppier, more electro counterparts, such as Toro Y Moi and Pictureplane, as the group has elected to paint a much dreamier, more laid-back soundscape. Nonetheless, in all honesty, New Chain isn't so very different from the rest of the Bushwick bulk. What is worth returning to, however, is the fact that the music offered is effortlessly lovely, memorable, well-transitioned, and oddly addicting. In a hype-driven scene, Small Black isn't obnoxiously proclaiming its prominence—the band's musical prowess speaks for itself.
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