Tempo can say it all in the right setting, and from where I sit it’s the most important feature we can break down in the new single “Reasons” by Scoville Unit. The groove is the feature on this track, but make no mistake about it – its place in the arrangement is what puts the sonic cherry on top for this performance. Between the vocal harmony and the plodding pace of the singular verse, the singer, the bassline, and the drums create a path through the darkness down which the audience is made to follow. Trailing into a forest of optimism presented through melodic charisma, these instruments cast worry and doubt in the listeners to the roadside, pressing us all forward towards a catharsis so rarely acquired from mainstream pop and alternative rock right now.
The greatest harmony in “Reasons” is one that is supported by the collective more than it is our singer himself; truthfully, I don’t think you can describe this piece without using a word like physicality, but not in the brutish, metallic sense some critics might be prone to using it. This bass has some brawn to it, and while it isn’t muscling us away from a guitar solo, it’s leaning in closer and begging us to appreciate its textural output. The vocal is similarly invasive, but only to the extent of making us want to turn up the volume and get lost in the haze of a harmony that overtakes both speakers at once.
Despite the casual nature of the drums and the monstrous groove it produces here, it constantly feels like we’re approaching something in “Reasons,” as if the percussion is inching us toward a climax too powerful for any of the individual melodic components to produce on their own. This never devolves into aimless urgency, as has been the case in some of the indie rock I’ve been listening to for the last five months, but instead finds a release in the final thirty seconds of the song that I would call postmodern were the aesthetic not being repurposed as much as it is in pop right now. Scoville Unit employs retro isms in the old-school sense and, with a little help from the studio setting they exploit, turn it into a trend I might be able to get behind.
If you haven’t checked out Scoville Unit yet, this might be the right single to start with this spring, as “Reasons” brings their best qualities to the forefront of the mix and lets listeners bask in the superiority of their style pomp-free. There’s an argument to be made that alternative rock recordings like this one are going to outpace the puritanical content we see in the American underground by the time this decade has come to an end, but I don’t see where both couldn’t coexist – especially given that what acts like Scoville Unit do has so much to do with following the template of the old guard. Regardless, what they’ve got in “Reasons” is can’t-miss listening for sure.