Crossover numbers, when they’re properly made by experimenting minds, can capture the same energy that makes all emerging pop music exciting, with a slightly updated twist to the tone, but in the video for Staunch Moderates’ “Rolling Stone,” there’s an argument to be made that the creators are going above and beyond to make something truly inventive here. In “Rolling Stone,” Staunch Moderates put a lot of stock into the track’s signature harmony while abandoning the sonic primping that could have circumvented its grandeur, maxing out their edginess while staying true to the spirit of alternative music as a genre.
There’s a heck of a lot more of a punch to the percussion in this song than I was expecting to find, but this isn’t a negative attribute at all – the exact opposite in all honesty. With a crunchy Britpop beat to facilitate the swing of the bassline, there isn’t much of the tension we would normally find in this style of an arrangement in the mainstream, but this isn’t a bad thing, either. The mistake that most artists make when developing an experimental song is trying to recreate someone else’s moxie in every way; instead of doing that, Staunch Moderates are making this single and its video their own.
Visually, the video for “Rolling Stone” is one of the more elaborate that I’ve seen for any track out of the American underground in a long time. There’s a consistent stream of exciting images that fluidly take us from one beat to the next without ever interrupting the flow of the music in the foreground. I don’t know if Staunch Moderates were trying to create something as cinematic as they did here, but no matter the case, I dig the result of their work.
The strings don’t get as much love in the master mix as I would have liked, but I suppose I can understand why. If Staunch Moderates’ main plan was to make this a vocal-centric piece defined by the weight of its words, they couldn’t allow for any more of an instrumental presence than they already did. The guitar parts have a hint of psychedelia in their bones, and though I can appreciate what they contribute to the inner stitching of the music, they probably would have taken a lot of heat away from the singing if they were any louder in comparison to their equally-melodic counterparts.
I can’t speak for every critic on the underground beat right now, but I think that Staunch Moderates are going to have a fantastic future ahead of them regardless of what kind of material they choose to produce. Despite the tough times that indie rock and experimental pop have been collectively experiencing, music like this is probably what we need now more than ever. “Rolling Stone” is a reminder to take things easy and one day at a time when considering the parameters of modern alternative music, and I think it’s hinting at an even greater sound to come from this Colorado crew in the near future.
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