Limits of Desire

Limits of Desire

Walking the line between dream pop and chillwave, Small Black has recorded a sophomore album that’s more sophisticated than its 2010 debut. From the opening “Free at Dawn,” it’s immediately apparent that the Brooklyn-based quartet has graduated from the murky fidelity of apartment recordings to a lush, panoramic studio sound. It also exercised a restraint and minimalism here that incorporates the strobed analog keyboards of '70s Krautrock as well as the icy synths and mechanized drum machine patterns of '80s electro-pop. Over this arctic soundscape, singer Josh Kolenik almost makes nihilism seem cool with a demure vocal performance that approximates his keyboards' straightforward tones. Despite some androgynously breathy singing that at times recalls a young Eric Stewart from 10cc, “Only a Shadow” has more in common with the New Romantic side of ‘80s synth-pop. It bleeds into a gorgeous title track that sways and swoons with a style that’s subtly reminiscent of Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark. Kolenik’s lyrics in “Shook Love” and throughout Limits of Desire mostly muse on themes of heartbreak.

Select a country or region

Africa, Middle East, and India

Asia Pacific


Latin America and the Caribbean

The United States and Canada