When they’re done the right way, the best collaborations show off a little bit of every artist involved whilst giving the listener a unique product they would never hear otherwise, and in their new single “Where Do We Go,” Champagne Poppers team with Raddix and Xoe Miles for what could be one of the slickest indie rock singles I’ve heard in the last year or so. “Where Do We Go” bangs at the door with an industrialized bottom end that occasionally verges on DNB-style intensity, but when coupled with the sizzling, almost bluesy tone of a guitar solo we find just ahead of the two-minute mark, and a soulful vocal accent from Miles, the resulting magic is anything but easy for us to label with traditional genres.
The concept for the hook is every bit a bastion of violent, loud indie rock ala the punk tradition, but the construction has much more in common with the breakdowns of EDM than it does anything in the rock n’ roll universe. Miles’ vocal slides into place at a particularly eroticized moment, fusing with the grit and grime of the bassline in this mix in a surprisingly congeal way. I don’t think this was a piece anyone threw together at the last minute in the recording studio, because in addition to the track having an arrangement as airtight as they come, every component of the melodies and the groove feels deliberate, well-rehearsed, and timed out to make the climax on the other side of a verse sound all the more stunning.
I wouldn’t mind a remix of this track specifically for the club, because to see the stutter-step of this beat go unutilized on a grander scale would be too great a crime for me to accept as a critic. We’re invited to sway with the lumbering bass parts the deeper into this song we get, and when we reach the center of “Where Do We Go,” there’s a bit of anti-catharsis waiting for us when the beat doesn’t swell any further. That could be alleviated in a remix, if not reimagined for a clubbier audience in general, but this also isn’t to say I’m not pleased with the presence of percussion as we find it in this standard version of the song, either.
“Where Do We Go” leaves its listeners asking as much about the players behind its creation, and after getting introduced to their collective styles in this performance I’m curious to hear a little more of what Champagne Poppers, Raddix, and Xoe Miles do on their own in future sessions. The melodic ribbonry here is fastened pretty tightly, but there’s never a juncture f the track at which we feel like we’re listening to something that was produced with any degree of artificiality – contrarily, this has a more natural feel to it than most of the indie music I’ve been reviewing lately, which says a lot about the state of the underground in 2023, as well as the potential all three of these acts have moving forward.
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