A solitary tone awakens to a sleepy melody with a soft rhythm that will slowly but surely evolve into an intoxicating groove in “Somewhere Only We Know,” the new single from Gideon King & City Blog featuring Ashley Hess on lead vocal. Amid the fragile beats, Hess starts to sing with a restrained passion that begs for us to listen closely as she sensuously spins a yarn that is rife with rebellion. The guitars confidently dance around her words with a swagger that is difficult to ignore, and though the lyrics are delivered to us with a lighthearted swing, the depth of emotion attached to their narrative is far from spindly. This is Gideon King & City Blog at their most personal, and it’s no overstatement to call it their best sound yet.
There’s nothing overtly experimental about the construction of “Somewhere Only We Know,” and still it sounds so much more unique than the other blushing balladry likely to be included on the upcoming Splinters EP. We get rolling on the back of an even-keeled groove that grows into a gargantuan force to be reckoned with by the chorus, and even though the tempo never shifts from one verse to the next, it’s almost as if we’re riding on a rollercoaster of rhythm that is twisting us every which way but loose before returning to a steady pace under the direction of Hess’ patient lyricism. None of the thrills and chills come from an erraticism in the flow of the song, but instead from the way that Hess inserts her words into the strutting instrumentation. The hook in this chorus is so charming that repeat listens are almost a given, which is where the lyrical element of the song comes into play.
The core narrative, which works off of nothing more than the words offering gorgeous illustrations of both the band and the source material they’re covering here, is a rare example of a minimalist theme being manipulated through melody into a concept that is anything but understated. The beats are surreal, the structure very simple, and as entrancing as the cosmetics are, the structure of the music is the most hypnotic element in the entire piece. I’ve always been a snob when it comes to this type of material, and urbane content like “Somewhere Only We Know” makes it all the harder for Gideon King & City Blog’s peers to affect me as much as this group does. After a refrain that features Hess and the drums locked in a duel for our hearts, “Somewhere Only We Know” drifts into darkness in an extended cycling of its chorus.
When the music stops we’re left alone with our thoughts and the echoing vocal that has scattered into the atmosphere, and while I enjoyed the song the first time that I listened to it, I think that I’ve grown to appreciate it all the more since absorbing it another time through when sitting down to conceptualize this review. Gideon King & City Blog hit it out of the park with this cover song, and aren’t as far away from making it big as many of their fellow indie artists are at the moment.
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