Those who live for quality soul, pop, folk, and fusion are getting a shot of vitality this September in the form of Gideon King & City Blog’s “Skunks Misery Road,” a track that sounds as fresh as it does stirring and full of classical experimentation. Led by a gentle vocal swagger lent partially by Ashley Hess, “Skunks Misery Road” is an anthem for fusion ballad lovers as much as it is a personalized tribute from King to the standards of yesteryear. It’s an identity piece, but more importantly, it’s an accessible, easygoing listen for anyone who loves great songcraft.
There’s so much emotion in every aspect of this track, from the vocal right down to the efficient cadence of the beats. As I see it, the soft grooves are responsible for defining the mood in “Skunks Misery Road” more than anything else, and they do a great job of forging a nice, melodic center amid the hurricane of harmonies that surround them around every twist and turn in the verses. It’s an action-packed ballad, but from behind his six-string King keeps everything running tightly enough to ensure that the music never devolves into something that’s unlistenable or unacceptable to mainstream audiences as well as indie disciples. ”Skunks Misery Road” will be featured on the band’s upcoming EP, ‘Splinters.’
Everything in this single was constructed as to center on the lush bottom end, but I like that the tones don’t drown out any of the emotion in the vocal. There have been scores of songs created in the same style as this one seeing release in 2023, but more often than not they’ve been plagued with an oversaturated bassline. That isn’t an issue in “Skunks Misery Road,” nor has it ever been much of a problem in any of the music that Gideon King & City Blog have attached their moniker to.
This mix makes the recording sound more like a live performance than it does a studio cut pieced together after hours of precise rehearsing. Right from the get-go in “Skunks Misery Road,” we’re made to feel as though we’re in the front row of a quaint little club, looking on as King takes to the stage beside some of the sharpest players he could have selected to play with. He’s got a smooth move, and he presents us with an unvarnished musicality that sounds and feels raw, real, and uncorrupted by technological augmentation.
Those who consider themselves to be keen on provocative new music out of the NYC scene would be quite wise to pick themselves up a copy of “Skunks Misery Road” this month, if for no other reason than to add a critical piece of modern indie mastery to their record collection. There isn’t another artist currently active in his scene today making the kind of forward-thinking material that Mr. King is, and I think that you would be hard-pressed to find another songwriter of his caliber making the impact on his genre that he inevitably will through the rerelease of this single. This crew is the real deal, and that just can’t be said for many of their rivals nowadays.