Small Black: Best Blues (Jagjaguwar) Review | Under the Radar - Music Magazine

Small Black

Best Blues

Jagjaguwar

Nov 20, 2015 Issue #55 - November/December 2015 - EL VY Bookmark and Share


Small Black's third album, Best Blues, opens with swells and crashes. This is the Brooklyn-based group's initial template for the first third of Best Blues, whose songs start on an assertive note. This quickly dissolves into murky self-reflection, but in an engaging, curiosity-inducing way-at least for the most part. The synth indie-pop Small Black has honed for the last six or so years is at its best on the well-named, ambitious-sounding "Personal Best" with its big drums, and the shuddering flutters of "No One Wants It to Happen to You." Best Blues begs for a John Hughes film on the Psychedelic Furs meets U2 synthesizer-driven guitar yearnings on "Big Ideas, Pt. 2." By the time the atmospheric washes of "Between Leos" are reached in the last third of Best Blues, you're swimming in the watery guitar warbles within which vocalist Josh Kolenik is practically indiscernible and at times utterly lost. He finally disappears into the echoes of "XX Century." Depending on your patience level, this fade-out of Small Black on Best Blues can either be engaging and hypnotic, or repetitive and forgettable. (www.small-black.com)

Author rating: 5/10

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Average reader rating: 7/10



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