Two years ago Small Black managed to stand out in the crowded synthesizer-smooth field with Limits of Desire (QRO review), which had the extra skill and emotion needed to produce something special. That continues with Best Blues, even if it can’t be such a revelation the second time around.
From the moving, expansive opener “Personal Best” onward, Best Blues has a personal feel without having to be strictly intimate. The following “No One Wants It To Happen To You” is sweet and airy, while “Boys Life” is dark disco. All of the talk of emotion doesn’t mean that dance beats aren’t there on this record; back-to-back “Checkpoints” and “Smoke Around the Bend” in particular have the beats behind loss.
Best Blues is a definite continuation of Limits of Desire, but there is much to be said for starting strong and staying strong.