With a powerhouse country melody to lead the way, crossover duo Boys Club for Girls dispense one gorgeous verse after another in their smashing new single, “5 O’Clock Shadow,” and though their endearing lyricism is the undisputed crown jewel of this incredible new song, the emotive means in which these two vocalists convey their words is just as vital a component of its charm. “5 O’Clock Shadow” has a very conventional country design, but in terms of raw expression and unfiltered passion, it goes without equal on either side of the border this summer.
The strings are as essential to the narrative in this track as the lyrics are, and in some ways, their colorful harmonies express a lot more through sheer texture than words on their own ever could. Boys Club for Girls were smart to give them just as much attention behind the soundboard as they did the vocals in “5 O’Clock Shadow,” because if this track was more centered on the singing than the instrumental elements, it probably wouldn’t be standing out as much as it is this July. There are a lot of country acts in the underground working with a similar concept, but I haven’t heard any that put as much effort into making the strings as effervescent as they are in this single.
While the music video for “5 O’Clock Shadow” has all the trappings of a mainstream pop release, it feels a lot more organic than anything I’ve seen on CMT lately. It could be the fact that its music has so much more of an independent bend to it than the vast majority of its major label counterparts do, but honestly, I think it has a lot more to do with the stylization of the shots. This looks like a big-budget video, but its content and the way that the entire piece was stitched together gives it a homespun quality that makes every shot so much more amiable than what most videos contain, regardless of genre. I would love to hear a slowed-down live version of “5 O’Clock Shadow” sometime.
The bones of this song are really strong, and with all of the energy and emotion that lies beneath the adrenaline of the execution in this particular performance, I don’t think that there’s any reason why it wouldn’t shine just as brightly as a slower ballad. There’s a lot that Boys Club for Girls can do with this sound, and I can’t wait to see where they take it next. The indie scene has been producing some excellent country acts this year, and Boys Club for Girls are by far one of the best that I’ve heard. “5 O’Clock Shadow” is not without flaw, nor does it serve to change the standard of practice for this band’s contemporaries in Nashville and abroad, but it sets the tone for whatever they’re planning on issuing soon. These two have a lot going for them, and I have a feeling that we’ve yet to see what they can do in the studio.
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