It’s hard if not impossible to deny the pure pop rock genius of Scoville Unit’s “Sidewalk”. The first single from their self-titled release hits on all of the hallmarks for this sort of music and has a familiar yet distinctive lyrical and musical voice that sticks with you even after a single hearing. Gandhar Savur’s lyrics and vocals are brimming over with deft flashes of humor and genuine pathos in perfect accord with one another – he never errs too far into a particular mood and keeps listeners wondering what twists his writing may next take. He has an easy and unassuming manner as front man too, depicted well in the single’s promotional clip, and it is easy to assume this is close to his onstage demeanor before paying audiences – albeit ramped up a few degrees considering the exchange of energy occurring between a band and live crowd.
The video moves back and forth between depicting the band performing in some anonymous rehearsal space and the video’s “narrative” of a young man with a sometimes troubled family life spending the day with his girlfriend. Much like the song’s sound, the video is full of light and bright colors, often filled outdoors and boasting a professional level of polish. The footage of the band performing has muted color scheme in comparison but the band conveys a tight knit relationship and unaffected joy working together on film. It’s a solid promotional video for the track.
Lead guitarist Kevin Shelbourne shines during the performance. His guitar solo during the song’s second half isn’t long, but it taps into track’s existing musical mood and puts an emphatic exclamation point on the recording. The rhythm section of bass player Drew Isleib and drummer Rob Hunsicker never cut an obtrusive presence in the song’s mix but they lay down an audible foundation that holds everything together. Saviur’s presence in the song is naturally crucial, but the production does a first class job of giving each member their due. Scoville Unit never sounds like a band who have been together a short time – they play, instead, with the chemistry and complementary interplay of a longstanding band.
The smattering of backing vocals scattered throughout the track underline its commercial inclinations. Many will be attracted to the canny juxtaposition of a buoyant musical arrangement and serious lyrical content – as well they should, it is a successful contrast throughout the whole of the tune. “Sidewalk” has a number of attributes making it an obvious choice for Scoville Unit’s first single and if it is a harbinger of what awaits listeners from the full release, it is the first salvo in an impressive introduction that should make the band’s reputation.
They have a lot of competition in one of the nation’s busiest music markets. The Philadelphia/New Jersey/New York City area is one countless bands and musicians call home, but Scoville Unit possess talents that stack up or exceed the best of them and the maturity of their songwriting and musicianship assures they will catch the attention of many ears along the way. Their first single “Sidewalk” is easy to enjoy, deceptively simple, and difficult to forget.