Chad Valley Entirely New Blue on LP + Download
A product of Oxford's prolific creative community, Chad Valley has a catalog that spans three studio releases – 2010's self-titled debut EP, 2011's Equatorial Ultravox, and the 2013 LP, Young Hunger. Now, two years later, Chad Valley's Hugo Manuel is back with his sophomore album, Entirely New Blue. The record is an exploration in identify and a return to the places that comfort us, especially when we return to them a different person.
The album was written between London, where he lived for years with his long-term girlfriend, and Oxford, the town that he came home to when their relationship ended. That painstaking transition is evident across the album's nine tracks, perhaps mostly on slow-burners "Labasa" and "Seventeen". The former of which is the namesake village in Fiji where his grandmother was born.
Unlike previous material, and embodying the spirit of the music, Hugo's voice appears higher in the mix and rinsed clean of effects on most tracks. Similarly, the production is starker, providing Hugo the space to do more with less. Working with producer Joel Ford, the ethos of stripping away everything that's not essential is apparent.