Small Black

Limits of Desire (Jagjaguwar)

Small Black

Small Black

Limits of Desire (Jagjaguwar)

With 2010 debut full-length New Chain, Small Black sank amid the chillwave swell of the turn of the decade. While the Brooklyn quartet's sophomore effort proves lustrously polished and the rhythms more pronounced, it still treads in lukewarm waters that lull comfortably numb. The relentless yearning in its dreamlike electronic haze and the breathless sighs of Josh Kolenik works well to a point, seducing on opener "Free at Dawn" and "Canoe," yet never moves forward, the compelling Eighties glaze washing from one song to the next and ultimately settling into a decompression tank that strips all sensory stimulation. Individually, "Sophie" or the soft synth pulse of "Proper Spirit" lift above their reverb drift, but strung among the 10 tracks of Limits, everything fades into neutral colors and it's the awkward contrasts like "Breathless" that stand out. A hypnotic album, but one that never quite awakens to its purpose. (Friday, 5:15pm, Blue stage)

**

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