REVIEW: Wreckless Strangers — Sun State (Michael Herrick Remix) (SINGLE)
Assailing us from seemingly every corner of our stereo speakers, we find ourselves assaulted by neon melodies as light as they are fierce behind the lead vocal in “Sun State (Michael Herrick Remix).” Michael Herrick is on hand to ramp up the groove in the background, but Wreckless Strangers’ smooth lead vocal up at the top of this mix quickly becomes the most hypnotic element for us to cling to amid the well-controlled chaos.
There are seemingly three or four different sets of fireworks getting lit off at once in this single, but rarely is there an instance in which Wreckless Strangers isn’t doing a fair job of directing our attention where it needs to be. Collectively they are the ringmaster in this performance, and although there are a lot of different components they’re juggling all at once, we don’t get the chance to see any of these players sweat — on the contrary, this is one of their more impressively cohesive works to date. Between the group’s charisma and that of Michael Herrick, we knew this was going to be a fairly gripping remix of what was already an awesome single, but few could have guessed that it would be the juggernaut addition to their discographies that it inarguably is.
Wreckless Strangers could care less about blending the bass into the background here; truth be told, I think it’s clear that they wanted to get a little extra oomph out of it by leaving it awkwardly between the percussion and the vocal. It grates against the melodic elements in the mix and gets the tension as high as it can go ahead of the climax, which lends an additional experimental feel to the lyrics and any kind of story they would comprise in these verses.
I don’t know that you need to be a professional music critic to pick up on the rebelliousness of the aesthetics and the practice in this piece, but for those who consider themselves audiophiles, the contrast and contradictions in “Sun State (Michael Herrick Remix)” are as stimulating to find as virtuosic works of conventionality would be. This is more spellbinding by far, even if it isn’t going to score the same kind of reaction out of the mainstream market.
Rock-hard rhythms, provocative rhymes, and a truly well-rounded sonic profile from every angle make this latest single to bear the Wreckless Strangers’ moniker in the byline one that I have had a hard time parting with since first getting my copy this autumn. Some artists thrive in the predictable pop realms, and then there are others who sound much better when they’re toeing the line between tried and untried, and this is an act that belongs in the latter category. Wreckless Strangers make their most profound music when they’re being put in a position to push the envelope as far as it can go without devolving into noise, and if they stick with the formula they’re utilizing so boldly in this remix of “Sun State,” I believe the underground won’t be able to contain their talents for much longer.