In 2012, Spacebomb dropped a bottle in an ocean, a record by Matthew E. White called Big Inner, the label’s inaugural work. It floated around the world and into thousands of new homes. For a small organization just starting out, it was more than just a success–it was a game changer. This fall, Spacebomb will again open its arms and gather around a man called Howard Ivans, embracing a process to produce a magic piece of round plastic. SB003, all hail the mighty 45. All hail Howard Ivans, of indie pop darlings The Rosebuds and soft rock bad boys Gayngs. Here he’s stepping out solo into the colored lights, bringing along two mesmerising, pulsing, gut-sticking tracks that tear away the walls between the future and the past, sadness and happiness, light and shadow. Howard Ivans reveals himself anew, bringing us inside his personal relationship to R&B with two brilliant flashes of chromatic-eyed soul.
Side A, “Red Face Boy,” is a blistering journey through the madness and insecurity of love, feet on the floor, glossy ‘n raw. Tight Virginia funk with obvious nods to the city formerly known as Minneapolis. Side B, “Pillows,” is a honeyed dream ballad, the trademark Spacebomb sound draped in silk: ravishing strings, stinging horns, and above all, an insistent and persuasive rhythm section. This is bedroom music and party music, music for the wedding and the honeymoon, for work or play or swimming through the city at night. This is the music of Spacebomb & Howard Ivans, the music of our minds.
The game may have changed, but the Spacebomb players are still the same: Pinson Chanselle and Cameron Ralston, drum and bass rhythm kings; string arrangements by Trey Pollard; and horn charts by Matthew E. White. Hear the attic studio move and shake like a well-oiled machine, making records the Spacebomb way. A perfect match for Ivans’ vision, for the man who made a song-by-song cover album of Sade’s Love Deluxe, channeling all his love for the history of satin-lined R&B into creating (and crooning) these two remarkably heartfelt songs.
The 21st century has a soul-shaped void in its heart and Howard Ivans is going to fill it until the grooves run out.