In 2022, we’re arguably witnessing pop music’s most diverse era unfold before our very ears, and you needn’t look much further than underground acts like up-and-comers Shane Palko and Mannie T’Chawi to know exactly what I’m talking about. While leading man Shane Palko is a new kid on the block this winter, in his new single “Blood” he makes a strong case for dismissing the notion that upstart players can’t create something profound right out of the gate. “Blood” follows a pretty basic Americana-style songwriting formula, but its cosmetics are hardly of the traditional variety. With a talented lead singer at the helm and some experimental faceting beneath the most exciting moments for us to behold, this single doesn’t waste time casting a spell over all of those within earshot of its harmonies.
This is a composition that turns the spotlight towards the vocal before it does anything else in the master mix, but this isn’t to suggest that the instrumentation is somehow lacking or feels thrown together in the least (nothing could be further from the truth). Although there are a couple of instances in which Palko admittedly steals a lot of potential thunder away from anything and everything in the studio with him here, there are no blatant instances of him overwhelming any specific components with his voice – which, of course, isn’t to say that he couldn’t in the right circumstances. He has much more self-control than the average underground voice in this genre, and you don’t have to be a professional music critic to recognize as much.
It would be really interesting to hear a deconstructed version of “Blood” presented at a different tempo at some point soon, mostly just to confirm what I suspect about its sterling structure. At its core, this single isn’t necessarily defined by any of the electrifying textures that are produced directly by the harmony, but instead by the way Shane Palko and Mannie T’Chawi tie everything together with Palko’s voice, amalgamating emotions, tones, rhythm, and rhyme all at once. It’s an impressive attribute I want to see him employ even more in their next project, which, judging from the buzz this is getting, could easily come early on in 2023 if the chemistry inside of the studio remains strong.
I had never heard of Shane Palko and Mannie T’Chawi before I got into “Blood,” but in its few brief minutes of play, I have fallen in love with the sound they have created here. There haven’t been many singer/songwriters to catch my attention out of this scene in the past twelve months, but if this is the caliber of player the underground is starting to submit once more, I’m going to make a point of paying closer attention to what it has to offer in 2023. The folk genre is reaching new heights that a lot of critics weren’t quite sure it could this year, and with artists like Palko at the forefront of a revolution, I think we can expect to hear a lot of quality music in this unfolding decade.
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