Approaching us with a vocal that is as crisp as it is lush and filled with a melodic color all too rarely acquired when browsing the mainstream isles of the local record store is none other than Milky Chance’s “Living In A Haze,” a late spring single that has been gaining traction in the underground and the mainstream the same thanks to its uniquely warm disposition. From the moment we press play forward, there’s not much powerful enough to come between artist and audience in this song – beset with chemistry from its players that isn’t the product of a commercially-driven label scheme, “Living In A Haze” blushes with authenticity in every verse it shares. Bringing to life a hybrid sound that speaks to both pop fans and indie rock enthusiasts the same, Milky Chance proves they’re ready to do incredible things in this track, and if you ask me, they deserve a heck of a lot more buzz than they’ve been getting the last couple of months. April is an iconic month for indie pop, and in 2023, there’s no disputing whether or not this single is required listening.
The vocal here is decadent but in the best way possible. There hasn’t been a lot of alternative pop acts comfortable with incorporating crude, post-punk excess into their sound this season, and while I’m not saying Milky Chance is doing that here (far from it), they’re not scared of the same postmodern elements that influenced such an aesthetic at one point in history. “Living In A Haze” doesn’t shy away from being exposed – whether you go for this kind of angle or not, there’s a lack of hesitation on the part of our singer here that is transcendent and completely present in their tone.
There’s so much sizzle to the guitar parts, but it never takes away from the serenade for one incontrovertible reason; no instrument could ever possess the kind of humanity a good vocalist does when they’re hitting all the right notes. The percussion is a dark figure in the background, gently pushing the tempo forward while giving all of the spotlight over the melodic components of the song, and while some might deem this a bit surreal for the mainstream, I would argue it’s exactly what plenty of major label pop artists have been trying to accomplish but with decidedly glossier results.
I had never heard of Milky Chance before just recently, but in the singles they’ve released so far they’ve given me more than enough reason to return to their moniker for new music in the future. There’s inarguably a tremendous amount of experimentation in the bones of “Living In A Haze,” but all things considered, it’s rather incredible how accessible the overall melodic ribbonry of the track remains (even with the super-alt cosmetics). Its edginess will win this band a lot of supporters once the single finds some steady rotation in the realm of American college radio, and if history has taught us anything about indie pop, it’s that acts like this frequently catch fire with intellectual listeners long before they do the casual audience.