With the advent of the digital and streaming era, the reverberations of such technologies in the years to come has felt all but obscure. What’s for sure though was one of its first casualties – the timeless debate of quality vs quantity – was effectively thrown out in favour of the idea of content on-demand. No longer were artists restrained to deliberate release windows, now instead presented with the opportunity to release at whim. But while the contrastingly archaic releases the likes of Red Hot Chilli Peppers Stadium Arcadium-reminiscent 122 minute run-time and its dual CD offerings of old prove to be effectively fossilised in the decade that birthed them, now the combined powers of Canadian nationals Jim Vallance and Tom Howie, aka Bob Moses, arrive with a best-in-class example that proves effortlessly that sometimes less can almost certainly blossom into much, much more.
Fittingly akin to Chet Faker’s famously genre-bending 2012 release ‘Thinking in Textures’, ‘The Silence in Between’ delivers on a concise ten-track format that not only respects your time, but uses what attention it does ask for considerately. By chiselling away the bloat littering conventional full-length offerings, the LP feels tight, simultaneously lending each track its own space, purpose and personality. It’s an effective formula that results in each track maintaining a larger share of mental real estate once its admittedly succinct runtime is all said and done, inventing for itself an environment where each track translates with less abandon to individual songs and more like cohesive chapters of an all-encompassing story.
Running the gamut of everything from Pop, Nu-Disco and Downtempo, to House, Mid-tempo and Industrial, there’s evidence of DNA from just about anything that will be sure to resonate with any given listener. Amongst them, ‘The Rush’ evokes an understatedness suggestive of ‘Atlas’-era Rufus Du Sol. There exists ‘Broken Belief’ straddling the line somewhere between Nine Inch Nails’ driving rhythms and strong Presets-esque vocalisations, and perhaps most curiously even traces of turn-of-the-century french-disco in ‘Hanging On’, with its nostalgic Thomas Bangalter-inspired percussion and sing-along refrains.
Markedly more relaxed than previous outings, ‘The Silence in Between’ also shears the excess of the more experimental choices of Bob Moses-singles passed in lieu of more conventionally arranged, vocal-driven electronica and pop, which would be disappointing if the duo weren’t honestly just so damn good at it. It’s an artistic decision traditionally mistaken for over-simplification in pursuit of potential commercialism, but lands here decisively and with a confidence that ultimately demands admiration.
To be clear, there’s nothing on ‘The Silence in Between’ that does not still whole-heartedly scream Bob Moses in nature. Understated synth work and sparse rhythm sections still ebb and flow around waxing and waning tides of lush vocal croonings ribboned together by trademark light touch engineering in a way that still delivers their signature subdued and tactful mood synonymous with their brand. Only now, leveraged in favour of more conventional compositional techniques that add something of a practical layer of accessibility.
The result? A surprising screwball that fans of old may feel arrives sans a degree of the melancholy and mass they have come to expect from the Grammy away-winning duo. But as for anyone new, the more accomodating temperature of ‘The Silence in Between’ won in exchange pays off multitudes, proving there has been no more perfect a time than the present to simply dive right in.