There are a lot of different ways to make a song cerebral and even a little mind-bending, and rather than taking a traditionally psychedelic route with the cultivation of his new single “In Shadowland,” Bruce Sudano wanted to be a little more thoughtful – and perhaps twice as provocative with his results – as the competition would be. Sudano layers vocals and strings beside each other atop a casual beat in “In Shadowland” that emphasizes depth over melody, and while I came into this review expecting a certain sound from his new release, I didn’t know it would come to me as shrouded in melodic darkness as this piece is.
The atmosphere behind the vocal is somewhat Pink Floydian in tone, sparking melancholy beside an optimistic, dragging beat that desperately tries to outpace the verse – but to no avail. There’s contrast just in the arrangement of the words and the string play, but it’s necessary to facilitate a fractured feeling as Sudano rattles off the lyrics with immense poetic dexterity. He isn’t looking to play through a basic hook n’ harmony setup in this single, but instead formulate something a bit grander (without the negative excess we’d associate with commercial pop/rock, that is).
Watch the video for “In Shadowland” below
Close to the midway point in “In Shadowland” comes a crushing chill from the vocal harmony that seems to be a bit louder than any other portion of Sudano’s singing is, and this makes the latter half of the single twice as frigid in presentation than it would have been. Without having to break away from a fairly minimalistic framework, he’s developing a strikingly brooding environment through which to give us every ounce of lyrical wit he can throw our way, all things considered. A live setting is the only place he might be able to have a more profound output with this composition, and I wouldn’t mind finding out for myself sometime soon.
While this is quite different than what I thought I was going to hear in the new Bruce Sudano song and music video, “In Shadowland” still lives up to its name and the reputation that its creator has been creating for himself since first arriving on the scene not so long ago. He’s much darker and liberal with his melodic might in this recording than he needs to be, but based on how well he does with the attributes this track is sporting, he’d be wise to experiment with them again in the future.