Limits of Desire - JAGJAGUWAR
FILTER Grade: 83%
By Zachary Sniderman on May 15, 2013
Small Black’s first two albums effectively married the opposing thoughts of “Wow, that’s a lot of synths” and “Wow, that sounds really good.” On their third, entirely self-produced record, Small Black decided on something a little simpler and a little more analog. There’s a real, live guitar this time around and the synths come across as distinct entities. Part of that simplified process seems to have muted Small Black’s herky-jerky spirit. The songs on Limits of Desire don’t always bounce like they did on the band’s last record, Small Chain, but that’s OK. Limits of Desire is more romantic, calling on aural cues from nostalgic ’80s movies but with some modern tricks. “Canoe” soars, even if it plays on the word “frenemy” for a lyric. “Sophie” rocks an acoustic guitar about as hard as is possible, while “Only a Shadow” and the excellent “Breathless” ride the kind of beat on which Small Black built their big reputation.