Littlemen’s new single “Visions” plants the UK band’s flag deep as a standard bearer for adult-oriented modern rock. Drawing from Brit rock influences and Americana songwriting ala Bruce Springsteen, Nick Allen steers Littlemen joined by a five-star cadre with bandmates equal in talent and sharing the same page with Allen. “Visions” certainly shows a clear direction. It’s a track that thunders throughout its near six-minute running time, but never mindlessly thrashing. Littlemen, instead, practically orchestrate the song, and the rising and falling of the track’s distinctive “movements” adds up to a dramatic listening experience unlike most you’ll encounter this year.
The steady mid-tempo pace of the song launches from the outset. There’s a firm backbeat propelling “Visions” forward and it’s free from excessive percussive clutter. The composition has a purposeful yet airy sound; this is a band performance where each component of the instrumental attack has plenty of room to breathe. Keyboards, synthesizer in particular, plays a key role in fleshing out the song and deepening its impact. It adds bright color to the piece, as well, without ever overshadowing the other instruments.
Well-placed backing vocals support Allen’s singing. The lead vocals are warm, inviting, and ideal for a pop/rock landscape such as this. Allen makes a relatively big deal about Springsteen’s influence on his songwriting, but many experienced listeners will hear more of a Dylan-esque echo reverberating throughout the song. It’s the keyboard presence that pushes that to the fore. The song’s lyrical content is quite up to snuff, as well, and delivered with a balance between emotion and nuance that serves the writing well.
It never overburdens the arrangement. Littlemen strikes an effective accord between the volume of words versus the music; the track doesn’t lean too far in either direction. The track’s duration may seem like a millstone around its neck at first glance, but even a single listen to the track bears out the thought that “Visions”, instead, achieves the right equilibrium on every point and that the song’s extended running time gives room to develop rather than bore the listener.
This single engages listeners on both a mental and physical level. The song’s production manages to give the performance an intimate feel while still achieving impressive grandiosity that never crosses the line into pure pomp. Nick Allen’s intent for the band and its music makes itself apparent at every turn of this single and holds the promise of even greater triumphs to come. It will entertain and connect with you on an intellectual level; we simply can’t say that enough about many modern releases.
Allen has taken the reins of Littlemen and steers the band in a satisfying new direction. There is no obvious effort to imitate another artist; Littlemen, instead, bank on their own unique blending of UK musical influences and Americana to elevate the work and it pays off handsomely. “Visions” serves notice that Allen is riding an inspired high and everything about this single encourages us to join him on the journey.
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