To a warm wall of enveloping fuzz, Brooklyn four-piece Small Black pitch-bend their way through ‘New Chain’, occasionally punctuating their Casio pop songs with ascending and descending bubbles of electronic sound that go “woooeeee” as they burst, and, at one point, on the brilliantly nostalgic ‘Search Party’, what may or may not be a Rick Astley sample.

Vocally, things are so breathy that they could be drowned out by a modest sigh, although the chances are that you won’t be doing much of that, because you won’t be doing much of anything whilst listening to this. It’s a record destined to be called ‘hazy’, ‘dreamy’ and ‘ethereal’, but more than that it’s hazardously mind-encroaching. It should really come with a Don’t operate heavy machinery while listening sticker. Maybe, you’ll be able to manage a kettle or toaster during the opening 80s prom-closer ‘Camouflage’, but I wouldn’t risk it. Just sit very still, try to keep breathing and ignore those who say that chill wave is a gateway drug.

By Stuart Stubbs

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