“Blood” From Shane Palko and Mannie T’Chawi

A beat, a message, a solid string component, and a powerful lead vocal – outside of these key elements, there isn’t much more comprising the new single “Blood” from Shane Palko and Mannie T’Chawi, and while it’s only the first release I’ve heard out of the talented act’s camp thus far, it’s one heck of a statement if I’ve ever heard one before.

Espousing a narrative that has become rather popular in the past ten years given the ocean of millennial thinkers that found themselves wandering the world in myriad ways, singer Palko’s foray into alternative folk would – on paper, at least – seem like a rather simplistic and prearranged release similar to scores of other songs out this winter, but if you think this is the case with “Blood,” you haven’t listened to the track at all. The lyrics cut away from the predictable platitudes and mundane metaphors that so many post-hipster musicians have taken to calling their own in favor of exposing a personality on behalf of this artist that I can only describe as deeply enchanting and spellbinding, and from an instrumental perspective, this single is a stimulating treat that somehow manages to touch on pop and singer/songwriter territory simultaneously.  

Trying to stay a minimalist in a year that celebrated excess like few others in recent memory likely wasn’t an easy task for Shane Palko to undertake when he sought out the creative tools he would need to make “Blood,” but all the same, he brings enough of a stripped-down aesthetic to the arrangement here to compensate for his lush harmonies that occasionally run towards the indulgent.

We get a great balance out of the strings and the vocal, but they’re always remaining dependent on each other as they construct the greater climax beneath the chorus. The beat is expectedly subtle, with the low tones giving the groove all of the moxie it needs to move us along with our singer’s verse. Everything in this song is designed to highlight the vocal and its flexibility, even in what would otherwise be dire circumstances (mostly for crooners with a lesser skillset, mind you), and on every occasion he’s presented with, Palko emerges from the battle between his voice and the ominous backdrop sounding exceptionally victorious.  

I only just found out about Shane Palko and Mannie T’Chawi this December through this single, its companion video, and some buzz it’s started around the American underground, but I can already tell that this act is going to be around in this game for a long time to come. There are a lot of different ways Palko and his collaborators can grow as artists in an ever-expanding collective from here, but if I were in his position, I would try to focus on the elegance of the material offered to us in “Blood” above all else. His delivery is downright powerful in a couple of spots here, and in 2022, we learned that heavenly harmonies in the folk genre are becoming difficult to find.

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