Synth pop can sometimes become a little… uniform after a while – there are only so many washes of synthesiser you can listen to without feeling like you have heard it before. Little Bark (the alter ego of Sophie Burbery) has bypassed this somewhat with her second album, which she wrote, and co-produced along with Stef Animal (Mëstar, Golden Awesome). ‘USB’ takes a more dramatic and cinematic approach to using the synthesiser, creating a colder (almost glacial) sound that contrasts with the warmth in her vocals – and those of Dave Frazer on the eerie, Bauhaus-esque Crystal Ball.
The metronomic beats of Modern Love drive that song’s rhythm and melody, while the siren-like call of the instrumental New Day are both arresting and chilling. The one jarring moment on ‘USB’ is U Say U Love Me, which swaps the Vangelis-like atmosphere for jittery pop that sounds disconnected from the rest of the album, tacked on rather than integrated. In the sea of synth-pop that makes up a large amount of the current local music scene, it takes something interesting to stand out, and ‘USB’ otherwise does that with its darker, more sophisticated soundscapes.