"Free at Dawn," the opening song of Small Black's second full-length album, is the sound of a band reclaiming itself at the start of a new day.
Gone is much of what characterized the band's eponymous 2008 EP and 2010 debut album New Chain -- the chill synths and preset Casio beats of a band that began as a bedroom project.
While still self-produced, Limits of Desire abandons the occasionally overstuffed sound of home-studio tinkering that guitarist-keyboardist Ryan Heyner and keyboardist-singer Josh Kolenik began with before adding bassist Juan Pieczanski and drummer Jeff Curtin. The full-band approach draws from an expanded palette, making Limits of Desire a surprisingly nimble album, synth-pop that fits itself into unexpected places.
"We kind of stumbled onto a lo-fi sound for the EP, and that was fresh for all of us, so we latched onto it," Pieczanski says. "But as time went on, we wanted to move beyond that, make it more spacious. The more we played live, the more we realized we could take it to different places."
Small Black is scheduled to perform Saturday, June 15 at Last Exit Live.