While we’ve waxed lyrical about the experimental pop offered by Service sublabel Cascine before, it’s difficult to avoid repeating ourselves as they just keep churning out music that’s as welcome and brilliant as the proverbial pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.
Now graduated to Loose Lips/Co-Op, Oxford’s Chad Valley (one man act Hugo Manuel) is the epitomy of what’s been termed ‘chillwave’; restrained electronica that is fundown rather than come-up. Chad Valley’s blissed-out tunes bask in the warming rays of soft electronica, and waves of looped keyboards and Hugo’s own vocals interweaving to form a colourful beach-towel of a record; an essential component of your summer, on which you’ll spend a lot of time daydreaming, drinking and generally chilling out.
Perhaps comparison to a towel doesn’t really do this record justice. Equatorial Ultravox echoes with a kind of Lynchian soundtrack quality; somewhere between wistful and stoned, that puts one in a supremely delightful state of mind. Live, this translates into a more danceable quality, but it’s got that pre/post-going out quality, there’s a certain – not smugness, but almost – feeling of a smile that this record inculcates in the listener; the reminiscences of a night out, or a day spent in the company of your best mates. It’s the opposite of frantic, but nods discreetly to bands like Caribou, Washed Out, Friendly Fires, CAN and Mylo.
Track titles actually tell you something about what the song will sound like: ‘I Want Your Love’ is a yearning paean to unrequited love; ‘Now That I’m Real’ has a tingler of a breakdown to the chorus, and ‘Reach Lines’ is a horizon-gazing Sunset-Boulevard-cruising toke of a track, and possibly my favourite on the EP.
It’s a record that you’d be a fool to ignore this summer; Equatorial Ultravox is music that wills the sun to set, mojito in your hand and smile playing on your face. It’s a record that instills sunny contentment, and looking out of the window of my office now as lashing rain and grey clouds in the middle of June, that’s definitely something we need more of.
Chad Valley’s Equatorial Ultravox is out now , and for more info on Chad Valley you can go to the myspace.