Chad Valley: Entirely New Blue (Cascine) Review | Under the Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
Tuesday, December 5th, 2023  

Chad Valley

Entirely New Blue


Nov 16, 2015 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share

Hugo Manuel-the Oxford, England-headquartered artist behind Chad Valleyhas the voice of an angel but the unfathomable inclination to hide it under digital manipulation. Sometimes it really works: the otherworldly, choral Autotune of Entirely New Blue opener “Understand” lends this introductory piece an alien aesthetic; or, when it’s used on the background vocals of “True,” it accents his lead vocalmixed front and center, and sounding comparably untampered withrather than overriding it. Elsewhere, however, the vocal treatment teeters into heavy-handedness, and otherwise solid tunes-“Arms Away” is spoiled by itare drained of his most striking talent by making his beautiful, soulful voice less so. It’s a frustrating thing to encounter so frequently, but it’s part of the Chad Valley territory. Fortunately, Manuel’s adept production skills and knack for melody usually lift the LP at any point where it really begins to sag.

Like Chad Valley’s prior album and EPs (and as Manuel has also exhibited in his output as the lead singer of Jonquil), Entirely New Blue has a quality that’s almost effortlessly uplifting. His electronic pop gives way to occasional dance leanings; tracks such as “Not That Man” and “Good Brains” might remind some of Erasure’s classic singleshe’s shared a bill with the synthpop iconsalthough they’re a bit more out-there. Even the six-minute slow groover “Labasa” will have listeners nodding and clapping along up to the point where a female vocalist ushers in a beautiful, gossamer breakdown. The backing tracks on the whole are impeccably produced, which makes those moments where too much Autotune lacquer-coats his voice that much more baffling; however, the genuine article shines through often enough that it all balances in the end. (

Author rating: 6/10

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Average reader rating: 7/10


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