Springing to life with a startling resilience, the first few bars of BlueNevada’s “How Do You Feel” are the perfect tone-setter for the next few minutes of carnal pop-rock about to come pouring out of our speakers. Even before BlueNevada begins presenting us with lyricism in this performance, there’s a sense that we’re about to make contact with one of the band’s more bruising performances of the new season so far. “How Do You Feel” is an indie rocker of a song that could have fit in with the best of them some ten years ago as well as it does today, but in the hands of this band, it sounds as refreshing in spirit and style as it did the day alternative rock first hit international airwaves.
As we get past the introduction and BlueNevada starts ripping through the verses, there’s a volatile angst to their vocal that instantly gives the track a little extra oomph where we didn’t even know it needed any. They’ve got a crushing amount of power in their singing here, and despite having to contend with some of the boldest riffing I’ve ever heard from their camp, they never sound hesitant or unsure of themselves at all. Swagger is completely different from arrogance in that it develops talent exponentially (whereas the latter does a lot to limit someone otherwise skilled), and in BlueNevada’s “How Do You Feel,” they show off plenty of the former. After putting in as many years in the underground as this scene has, I think it would be odd if they didn’t sound perfectly confident in themselves in 2023.
Try as they might, I don’t think BlueNevada could have ever surpassed the attractiveness of their guitar parts here with a black-and-white vocal alone. The strings are suffocating and at times a little overwhelming next to the drums, but if you’re as into hard indie rock as I am, they’re basically what makes this take on “How Do You Feel” the smash that it is. Instrumental prowess is becoming increasingly difficult to find around the establishment’s recent output, but it’s nice to know that indie players like these guys are staying loyal to the prideful techniques that paved the way for pop and rock n’ roll well over a century ago.
“How Do You Feel” probably won’t be the biggest or most buzzed hit of 2023, but among the pop music underground, I think this song has the potential to steal some of the spotlight away from the mainstream nonsense polluting commercial radio at the moment. BlueNevada has a sound that makes them seem like no strangers to success, and their cult following is living proof of their eminence in certain circles. If this is any sort of an indication as to what they’re going to be recording throughout the next decade of their career, I think their fans should start getting excited about what the future has in store. They’re already an amazing act, but as they continue to mature, their work is becoming more versatile than many critics imagined it could.
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