SB LOD

Small Black – Limits of Desire (Jagjaguwar)

Small Black are out of New York, and obviously enjoy all that living in such an artistic epicentre has to offer. Let’s talk about the music first; we should, shouldn’t we?

This week has seen the release of both their new album Limits of Desire and also a second single ‘No Stranger’ to follow in the footsteps of ‘Free At Dawn’. It’s been a week when half the world has been getting excited about the live-on-stage resurrection of The Postal Service, and no doubt subconsciously fuelled by that very event, my mind sprang all too quickly to make such comparisons. Not that I’m keen to cast Small Black as the ‘new Owl City‘. I wouldn’t be that cruel to anyone, and besides which, Small Black are far, far better than that. The more I listened, and in between other hints (sorry) of anyone from the Blue Nile to New Order‘s percussion, the more their own character shone through. I actually and truly believe that I found the ideal place to listen to the album, that being on a Lufthansa flight to Hamburg, all leather seats and chic flight staff. Vocals slide and glide in layers between the sort of chilled dance beats you’d most likely hear at 5am in ‘Club Euro-Zero’, that smart and sophisticated cellar bar in the basement of your concrete and glass hotel, in whichever city you happen to find yourself tonight. The music is crunchier than the chill-out zone though – I actually scribbled “clarion beats” onto my hand with a Biro while I was listening for the second or third time, by now in an airport lounge. The vocals are akin to watercolour sketch ideas for days breathless in the sun, vignettes rather than full-blown narrative.smallblack135

And the non-musical bits? Possibly more of interest if you live within 50 miles of Williamsburg, but certainly demonstrative of the width of their endeavours: to coincide with the album launch Small Black are hosting a gallery show at 7 Dunham in Brooklyn. And in some ways even more impressively are having a beer launched in their honour by New York brewers Stillwater Artisanal. What is it, I hear you ask, bitter, lager, what? No, it’s a ‘black saison’ whatever the hell that is. Even so, I cannot think of another band that has ever done that. Someone please put me right.

[Rating:3]

 

God is in the TV is an online music and culture fanzine founded in Cardiff by the editor Bill Cummings in 2003. GIITTV Bill has developed the site with the aid of a team of sub-editors and writers from across Britain, covering a wide range of music from unsigned and independent artists to major releases.