Julius Steinhoff, half of Smallpeople and a founding member of the Smallville label, has made "So Glad" the title cut on his most recent EP. And in general, we should be: with carefully constructed tunes, a singular deep house aesthetic and iconic Stefan Marx cover art, the Hamburg label's releases are certainly welcome additions to record store bins whenever they drop. But I wonder if "Slow Movement" or even "Speak No Evil" would have better embodied the sort of music Steinhoff has put forth this time around. So Glad marks another catalog number for Smallville, but beyond maintaining the vibe the label is known for, it doesn't reach too far beyond the familiar.
The moody piano line and syncopated bass accents of "So Glad" send it off to a promising start, and a swirl of buzzing synths create a curiously heavy moment. The track, however, seems to exhaust these ideas by about the halfway mark, leaving it feeling a little obligatory thereafter. "Slow Movement," its pseudo-acid bassline pushing dutifully beneath some mumbled vocals and familiar drums, is also missing a certain spark. Things look up a bit on the B-side, though. "All of a Sudden" stays within Smallville's remit, but its gently unraveling melody explores a more interesting corner of its sound. Similarly, "Speak No Evil" finds something commendably peculiar—breathy, warped vocals wrangled into rhythm—to run with. There's certainly music here worth celebrating, even if Steinhoff occasionally treads water.