Small Talk is the latest in a string of singles that beat a sonic path towards a planned debut album later this year and it is a perfect slice of restrained modern pop. Over a tumbling beat and some understated vocals, it talks of those difficult conversations and encounters that happen after a relationship has ended and you are trying to find out how, and even if, you can still fit in each other’s lives.
It creates some wonderful dynamic by lifting the song from the reflective and sentimental lyrics into the rising sonic crescendos of the chorus and then dropping back into the thoughtful narratives. And then for the final dramatic push, it breaks out the big guns and shoots some anthemic guitar work through the song’s finale.
Small Talk is pop, for sure, but it blends in some soulful touches, especially in the vocal delivery, some neat washes of piano and synth soundscapes and finally those almost rock guitar outbursts. And that is the art of pop in the modern age, the template may be the same as it ever was, one built around infectiousness and groove, but the building blocks are new allowing the sound and style of the song to move with the times.
Capital 4 do what they do well. And what they do is forward-thinking pop music. And whilst it ticks all the boxes for the modern mainstream sound, it is intriguing and underground enough to appeal to the alternative movers and shakers too. Songs such as When I’m Drunk and All These Lovers proved that they have all the right pop smarts to deliver upbeat and energetic dancefloor-ready tunes, but Small Talk is the song where the band has stepped outside their comfort zone and really pushed their sonic potential.