Chad Valley Equatorial Ultravox EP

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In the age of guaranteed album leaks, music streaming services, and flash-in-the-pan blog hype, EPs are no longer just precursors to something bigger, merely a teaser of what's to come. These smaller releases can very much be the "main event," if you will, and should be treated as such. That said, the follow-up release to Chad Valley's debut, a well-received, self-titled EP, is yet another summery extended-player, but one which fully exhibits the range of producer Hugo Manuel's synth-pop capabilities.

Equatorial Ultravox offers seven cuts from the UK artist, smoothly and evenly oscillating between Balearic dancefloor burners ("Now That I'm Real (How Does it Feel?)" and "Fast Challenges"), funky slow jams ("Reach Lines" and "I Want Your Love"), and more contemplative pop sounds ("Shell Suite," "Acker Bilk," and "Shapeless"). No matter which angle he takes, Chad Valley's love for '80s AM radio pastiche, white-hot synth filters, quasi-tropical sounds, and infectious robo-vocal hooks permeate the music to its core. This record may be an EP in name, but it's certainly a long-player in scope.