I love songs that lull you into a false sense of security and then, having played with your expectations, pull the rug out from under your feet. It reminds you that the best artists out there can always find something new to do with music and that no matter how well-versed you are in the art form, you should still expect the unexpected. It is one of the many reasons why I love this new single from TidyRubble.
It may come on like just another guy with a guitar, another acoustic troubadour to add to the current mass ranks of skinny-jeaned alt-poppers with complicated hair and a working knowledge of A minor, but it then flicks a switch and shifts gear, and you find yourself faced with an intriguing slice of…well, alt-pop, indie-rock, folk-rock…take your pick, it’s all in there somewhere.
And, so deftly crafted and well constructed is Last Place that deciding which genre-label to slap on it only depends on how you hold it up to the light. Look at it one way, and you get shimmering acoustic cascades, another angle gives you searing rock guitar salvos, spin it again, and with each turn you are presented with cool indie moves, infectious pop grooves or even some dense, prog-infused sonic moves.
And the fascinating thing is how TidyRubble blend all these aspects and elements into one song and still makes it feel light and accessible, poised and pop-aware.
Throw in some meaningful and timely lyrics about how we shouldn’t follow leaders and self-serving politicians, those that line their pockets using our trust and, more importantly, our money, and you have a song that is pretty much all things to all people and also the delivery system for a message that we can all get behind. Never have I heard a song that is so rabble-rousing yet subtly done, so incendiary yet so devoid of the usual cliche. Protest has just gained a cleverer, understated and more sophisticated soundtrack.
Rock fans will love the controlled use of power, indie kids its poise and fans of rootsier sound will enjoy the acoustic platform used to hang all of the other melodic elements on. And it is also melodic enough to break into the more mainstream markets, its accessibility and infectiousness appealing to more discerning chart-minded music buyers and pop pickers. I can think of anyone who isn’t going to love this.