- Moomin's records, like most on Smallville, sound immediately familiar. You know what you're getting into when putting one on: delicate drums, emotive strings, whispering horns, pads that smudge like watercolour. That's never been a problem for Moomin—his sound is eminently likeable, hard to deny even if it's not your cup of tea. He has a knack for drums that hit like the pitter-patter of soft paws, and an ear for chopping samples that comes from his hip-hop background. He's also one of Smallville's most consistent artists. It's neither a surprise nor a cause for complaint that Moomin's second album, A Minor Thought, sounds a lot like his first.
If you heard The Story About You, then A Minor Thought's opener, "123," will probably give you déjà vu. It starts exactly the same way: the lapping of ocean waves give way to a drum track. Maybe it's a cheeky nod to the past, but it's also reassuring. With well-worn samples and muted horns, Moomin sets us firmly on familiar ground. Tame as it is, "123" rides a slippery drum pattern, with a playful splash of cowbell that feels slightly friskier than usual. Moomin's calm waters mean that every droplet makes a big ripple.
"Woman To Woman" might be Moomin's catchiest track yet. The focal point is an unforgettable, feel-good bassline that could've been taken from some classic R&B song, finished off with samples of an ancient-sounding orchestra. Placed right in the middle of the tracklist, "Woman To Woman" is the album's peak. Around it, Moomin works synths and samples into a foamy wash of pretty melody ("Alone"), does his best Larry Heard impression ("Chemistry") and gently folds disco into the title track, with rhythm guitars that come and go like they're caught on a breeze. It's impressive how Moomin builds on his blueprint while barely changing it.
On first pass, A Minor Thought might sound like another Smallville record with all the expected tropes; listen more carefully and you'll hear a world of subtle tweaks and improvements. It's a beautiful illustration of the label's sound, a warm and welcoming style of house where predictability is a strength instead of a weakness. The appeal of A Minor Thought comes down to one simple idea, which you could call the Smallville motto: if you liked the last one, then you're gonna love this.
02. A Minor Thought
03. Loop No. 1
04. Morning Groove
05. Woman To Woman
09. Time To Reflect
10. You Neva Know