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On New Chain, Small Black trades the static and hiss of cheap recording equipment for a much cleaner sound -- this time, the haze surrounding Josh Kolenik's voice comes from dense electronic swirls instead of signal overload like it did on the band's self-titled EP. Ironically, tracks like "Camouflage" somehow sound even older minus the lo-fi approach, with synth toms and pads that hark back to the pristine-bordering-on-sterile '80s. "Photojournalist"'s stop-start rhythms and "Panthers"' emphasis on Kolenik's vocals add emotion and momentum to the album's dense sound. There are some purely sonic delights here as well: the warping and fizzing synths on "Goons" provide some lush electronic dream pop, and "Invisible Grid" closes the album with a luminous soundscape that evokes underwater wildlife. New Chain is never less than pretty, and sounds so appealing that it could be considered one of the first chillwave albums aimed at the mainstream.