Some might say it’s debatable, but from where I sit, America hasn’t been this politically active and engaged as a collective society in generations, and it’s in this spirit that bands like Potter’s Daughter are rising to the occasion with opinions and messages that need to be heard. Potter’s Daughter are attracting a lot of buzz this season on the strength of their new single “We Could Be” and its music video, and even if you’re not the least bit interested in hearing any more of the nightly news drone, it’s sporting a legitimacy of statement and self you have to hear to believe.
Right off the bat, the first thing I noticed about this single was its instrumental arrangement. Equally dexterous and decadent but not quite enough of either for me to describe the overall finished product as being unnecessarily indulgent, “We Could Be” has a few moments in which it sounds a lot more complicated than it actually is, but none of this is because of plastic cosmetics in the master mix. The instrumentation is organic, and when unraveled from behind the glass, it’s actually a rather black and white jazz composition free of any useless aural fat.
The lead vocal in this song is really warm and sweet, but it’s not the centerpiece of “We Could Be” at any point. Instead, its harmony with the bassline creates the perfect framing for the lyrics, bringing forth even more emotion than we would have encountered through the precision of the execution more than any fireworks in the band’s play. There are ways to conservatively build an epic jazz ballad, and this is one that I think a lot of Potter’s Daughter’s young contemporaries could stand to learn a thing or two from for certain.
Aesthetical balance can be the difference between a good jazz track and a legendary release, and it’s pretty clear to me that this band takes it as seriously as they need to when they’re in the studio after listening to “We Could Be.” Keeping the narrative in the lyricism our main focus was always the top priority for Potter’s Daughter, and in bringing in just enough of an ambient influence on the instrumental portion of the music to make the verses sound and feel more surreal and haunting, they not only produce a multifaceted single but prove themselves quite the calculated group of players in general.
I didn’t know about Potter’s Daughter before “We Could Be,” but you can bet I’m going to be looking out for more of their music as they find some footing in the American underground over the next few years. This is a good look for their genre and an important message that doesn’t get lost in translation, even with the music being as entrancing as it can be on more than one occasion, and if you consider that all of it is coming from a band that only has one album on their belts, it’s difficult to dismiss theirs as anything other than a stunning artistry with marvelous potential.
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