Small Black – New Chain

Ah so this is an example of Chillwave? Forgive my ignorance on these vital matters of the Zeitgeist, I didn’t realise it had been given a moniker by fellow writers. I’ve heard a lot of records like this over the last two or three years and to be honest I just thought it was a slacker approximation of New Order or Hall and Oates – albeit with a lot of compressor. Fair enough.

As to the music on this record, I’d say that it’s very pleasant, occasionally inspired, but you will need your wits about you because you could easily be induced into a state of torpor.

The opening track Camouflage  is a dreamy seductive swirl that keeps you vaguely interested and hopeful for developments of some sort or another , like the flirty office secretary of legend. It doesn’t really prepare the listener for the second track, Search Party, which is possibly the best song on the LP: shamelessly raiding the sound New Order perfected round 1986 (it’s as if Shellshock has been given a melody). After this short sharp “pop-shock”, we dip back into dreamy swathes of pleasant sounds and harmonies, with the fractured, diffuse layers of noise substituting for any sort of chordal or melodic progression.  In one way it’s very difficult to discern the difference between tracks like Hydra and Crisps 100 (I was surprised that I’d got through three tracks before realizing it was a different track to be honest).

Pithy remarks aside, this is a nice LP, and it does offer more highlights than the superb Search Party; Goons is a great swirly dream and Panthers is an enjoyably moody piece with a nice melodic twist.