When the country’s most notoriously bustling city shutters, the pacing begins. Pacing the halls of one bedroom-apartments, pacing in circles in studios, pacing aimlessly and drifting into an otherworldly headspace, away from the grim scene of barren streets outside.
And yet, Small Black chose to enter into that specific sort of dreamscape long before the rest of New York City felt like it had to.
The Brooklyn group’s new single “Duplex” came together long before COVID-19-inflicted quarantines began, but unravels like a diary excerpt from 2020 or 2021. The single presents an undeniable trance: The kind that might compel an extrovert to sit in perfect silence or make an atheist whisper an “amen for one” when no one’s listening. Solitary but safe, “Duplex” comes cushioned with plush synths and the warmth of knowing that people scattered across the city feel the same strain of solitude you do, too.
The single came with both a stop-motion music video and the announcement of the band’s forthcoming album, Cheap Dreams, out April 9 via 100% Electronica.
“We finished writing and recording ‘Duplex’ way before the world shut down last March, but the lyrics seemed oddly prophetic to me as we were doing the final mix,” says singer Josh Kolenik. “’Walking in the house alone / Pray on the ottoman / Amen for one.’ I was originally thinking about the absurdity of feeling alone amid the nine million of us in NYC and yet suddenly, we were all isolated without much of a choice in the matter. In those weeks spent listening to the quiet out our Brooklyn windows, only broken by the occasional siren, unsure where the city or the world was headed, the song took on a new meaning.”
Check out the Ryan-Draybuck-directed video for “Duplex” below.