Like a beam of light breaking through a seemingly endless blanket of clouds, singer Nebula of the band Trouble in the Streets slashes through the thick layer of distortion separating her lyrics from the flow of her fellow players with a sleek vocal as soft as silk at the onset of “Chasing Whatever.” It’s rooted in soul, spliced with just a hint of dream pop, and powered by an exquisite lyricist who doesn’t let enigmatic prose stop her from making a very concise point to us in this latest single from the much-applauded, Austin-stationed trio. Her voice echoes into the ethers for what feels like an eternity, but as quickly as she spellbinds us with this opening salvo of sweetened crooning, she flips the switch and attacks the next stanza with a slick rap assault that is strangely relaxed and assertive at the same time. We’re no more than thirty-seconds into “Chasing Whatever,” and whether it’s the video or the song by itself that we’re absorbing, Trouble in the Streets is already captivating us with their every move.
The music video is overpowering, ambitious and a serious alternative to the campier content that Austin has been turning out in 2019, but it isn’t the main reason to give this single a spin right now. More than anything else, the music is what makes “Chasing Whatever” a can’t miss offering – in the synths, the fuzz, the buzzed bass parts and even in Nebula’s own singing, we’re not just experiencing multiple elements of a pop song colliding in a slow-motion brawl for the ages, but instead taking in a powerful tour de force made up of rhythm and harmony as well as an exposed experimentalist angst. I suppose that this would align a lot closer to punk rock than it would anything in the underground R&B circuit at the moment, but personally I feel like assigning either label to this composition would be somewhat dismissive of just how unique an effort it is. “Chasing Whatever” isn’t tethered to some burgeoning movement or growing spectacle far from most mainstreamers’ view; it’s a picture window into the guts of one of Texas’ most criminally underrated beat syndicates.
We come to a conclusion in this all-new release from Trouble in the Streets with a flamboyant finale that could be a definitive concert-closer for the band in their future touring, and as the music fades to black, I found humming its most affectionate of harmonies to be extremely common, even without realizing it at first. This is a catchy slab of avant-soul, and though it’s not the only indie cut raising an eyebrow or two down in the lone star state at the moment, it’s absolutely my favorite out this September. Trouble in the Streets have still got a lot to prove to the establishment if they’re ever going to breakout from the annals of alternative pop, but for my money, they don’t need to change a thing about their sound. The only thing deceptive about the music video for “Chasing Whatever” is its name – for this is clearly a group in pursuit of an iconic style all their own.
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