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Wanderraven’s “Dishonest”

“Something in your eyes / Makes me wanna be dishonest / ‘till every lie becomes true” croons a bittersweet vocal from behind a fog of synthesized beats in Wanderraven’s “Dishonest,” the hot new single from the acclaimed indie pop musician. The mixture of haunting harmonies and exposed lyricism makes for a magical chorus in this stately sonic eruption, but in terms of sophisticated grooves, this track is simply unbeatable. Wanderraven unfurls a swing-driven, urban pop ballad that knows no equal in “Dishonest,” and if you enjoy a good rhythm flanked with a seductive rhyme as much as I do, it should be considered required listening this October.

There’s just as much going on within the instrumentation of this song as there is the vocal, and that isn’t something I’ve been able to say about a lot of the pop music that I’ve been reviewing this autumn. The arrangement is structured around the elegant emission of lyrics, but its crown jewel is undoubtedly the stylish beat framing every word we hear. It’s got enough of a sway to attract the club crowd while appeasing casual pop fans with its sparkling simplicity, and in 2019, that’s becoming an increasingly difficult combination to produce.

The fluidity of the vocal delivery is utterly fantastic in “Dishonest,” and I would even argue that it moves the groove in this song more than the drums do in a couple of key spots. If Wanderraven’s primary goal in this single was to convince the world that he knows how to simultaneously engage listeners emotionally and physically, he didn’t just do a good job here – he hit this one out of the park, and effectively proves to anyone that might have doubted his skillset that he’s capable of doing just about anything he set out to when the chemistry is clicking as good as it is in “Dishonest.”

As much as it might have been tempting to weigh down the backend of this cut with a lot of additional bass tones, I like the fact that Wanderraven took a more conservative approach to the low-end textures that define the cushion for his crooning in the song. He’s got just the right amount of bass to draw us in as we inch closer and closer to the chorus, and rather than finishing us with bravado-inspired bludgeoning, he lets the track slip into the ethers like a fleeting fall wind.

If this surreal songcraft is just a sample of what’s to come next for Wanderraven as he continues to strive for the ever-evasive mainstream attention that all indie acts pursue, I definitely plan on staying tuned to his output for the foreseeable future. He’s got a lot of energy that he’s bringing with him into the studio here, and if his panache is indicative of what his standards are both in and outside of the recording process, he’s going to find a lot of new fans hungry for his style as 2020 comes into focus. “Dishonest” is a big breakthrough, and I’m certainly not the only critic to be saying so.

Mindy McCall

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