In his latest single, titled “In Shadowland,” Bruce Sudano isn’t content to pick up the simplistic folk harmonies he’s been touting in his last couple of releases for another go-round in the studio. Here, he’s exploring the depth of his voice, demanding a reaction from us lyrically, and shaping a new narrative within his artistry that is much darker and more mysterious than I would have assumed him capable of mustering. It’s been a crazy time for pop music, and in that spirit, this singer/songwriter isn’t about to remain stoic as the melodies of the mainstream continue to push the sonic limits.
The harmony between Sudano and the string parts is pretty cold, but it’s got something enormous to contribute to the story at hand. There’s a removed element to the kinship we know this player to have with the instrumentation that will probably catch some of his longtime listeners off guard in this performance, but it’s deliberate and evocative beside the lyrical theme being demonstrated from behind the mic. I suppose its title should have tipped me off, but I was still curious about what would come with each beat I encountered the first time I listened to “In Shadowland.”
Sudano’s music video for this latest release is quite the cinematic offering, and its surreal vibe meshes with the melodicism of his voice in a way that leaves us feeling haunted by the complete profile of the music long after the video has ceased to play. It’s difficult to encapsulate a lot of emotional weight inside of a piece that has a complicated visual construct, particularly in pop music, and this is a scenario in which an indie player is proving just how much talent factors into making a project as ambitious as this one come off without a hitch.
Although lyrically a little dark in more than a couple of key spots, the instruments are made to draw us closer to Bruce Sudano in “In Shadowland” as opposed to repelling us away from the character he fashions himself as in this piece. There’s a progressive component to the verses that ties everything together as one complete thought as opposed to vivid scenes from a dream, but I’d still say that the general feel of the words is one that could be multi-interpretive, depending on whether you’re looking at the video’s face value or judging the narrative from the aesthetics of the song alone.
I must say, I was rather confident that I knew exactly who Bruce Sudano was as a musician ahead of hearing “In Shadowland” for the first time, but this track and its companion music video have shown me that he’s definitely got more than a couple of surprises up his sleeve I know relatively nothing about. This is a drastic turn from his last release, but it’s not a departure from the high standards to which he holds everything he’s stamped his name on thus far in his career. Sudano is one of a kind, and you’ll likely step away from this single knowing that.
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