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Staunch Moderates “Rolling Stone”

Wrapped in a thick but wholly translucent bassline, we discover the bright ray of hybridity that is Staunch Moderates’ “Rolling Stone,” which is currently out in both music video and single formats this fall. Structured similarly to the freeform pop we’ve been increasingly seeing out of the underground but flanked with a rock-flavored groove that wasn’t as prominent in this scene, “Rolling Stone” definitely gets off to a pendulous start before suddenly evolving into an all-out jam.

There’s a romantic element to the tandem harmony between the vocals and the instrumentation here that is sublimely soulful and highly attractive even at moderate volumes, and while I would have enjoyed a straight acoustic version of this song as much as I do this rendition, there’s something particularly special about the electrifying edge the heavy mixing creates. If you’ve been having a meh kind of day, week, month, or year, this is one track that is almost certain to turn your frown upside down inside of just a few minutes thanks to its uplifting undertow. I’m very picky when it comes to experimental songs, but this is too good to avoid.

Beyond the melodies that bind the lyrics to the instrumentation in this track, there’s no denying how major an agent of evocation the beat of the drums is. There are admittedly a couple of moments in which the different elements in the main harmony here converge on each other in what could be described as a sonically overwhelming event, but because of the steady-handed percussion in the background, nothing ever fully devolves into chaos.

I love the jaggedness of the master mix, and whether we’re listening to the single or taking in the postmodernity-filled visuals that comprise the video for “Rolling Stone,” it’s as potent a force to be reckoned with as one could ask for. The video itself works well as a verse-based piece of content, and in some ways, it accomplishes the conveyance of a theme better than a conventional release would have. Staunch Moderates might be a new project for these musicians, but their sound feels like the missing piece of a puzzle that should have been finished a long time ago.

Pop/rock doesn’t always produce the sort of experimentalism that makes it into the indie press, but with Staunch Moderates’ unique “Rolling Stone,” this is a track and video that are worthy of the media attention they’re receiving this October. As cool as it would be to see these guys record some straightforward material together, I’d like to hear them try some other elaborate moves in addition to this one.

They’ve got a flexible sound and approach to arranging that could benefit them in exploring different styles of music in the studio, but no matter what they decide to do with their talents next, I’m going to plan on keeping up with their output as this genre’s future continues to unfold. Simply put, if you’re into alternative concepts and experimental framework, “Rolling Stone” might feel as revolutionary in spirit as the band that inspired it once was.

Mindy McCall



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