Midnight Shine’s “Lonely Boy” Single/Video

BANDCAMP: https://midnightshine.bandcamp.com/track/lonely-boy

The music video for Midnight Shine’s “Lonely Boy” is both simple and stately, reverent and retrospective, and more than anything else, touching and tremendously real. Inspired by the death of Adrian Sutherland’s father, “Lonely Boy” sees the accomplished singer and his band of brilliant melody-makers exploring grief through anti-melancholic harmonies that could brighten up even the darkest of days, and through the images that fill our screen in the song’s video we’re given a unique opportunity to experience the emotions of its composer without any disruptive filtration to come between artist and audience. We begin in a packed concert hall filled with fans eager to see Midnight Shine; the band lays into the opening riff of the song with a casual ease, and interspersed between the shots of the band’s performance we find a father and son spending an afternoon together in the park. It soon becomes clear that what looks like a typical day shared by a proud dad and his boy is but a memory lingering in the mind of our teenage protagonist, who we eventually see walking alone in the same park that he once played in as a child.

Not dissimilar to the ghosts that occupy our mind in the time following the passing of a loved one, the volley of guitar riffing that transpires behind the lead vocal circles on in the atmosphere for quite some time after “Lonely Boy” ceases to play – a direct result of the sharpened hook that Midnight Shine use in the buildup to the chorus here. There’s a churning sensation created by the drums, but we’re never completely dragged asunder by their pummeling thrust; the bassline cushions the more abrasive pushing and shoving in the percussion and prevents the vocals from becoming muddied, and towards the end of the song, it’s as if all of the players are working in divine synchronicity. This group has put together some really provocative work in the past, and though this isn’t the most incredible piece that I’ve heard or seen in the last couple of months, it’s material that I believe to be some of the best this band has cut so far regardless.

“Lonely Boy” concludes with a rocketing rhythm that takes us into the horizon of the harmonies without skipping a beat, leaving only a reverberated trail of string textures in its wake as the music returns to the heavens from which it first came. The video is the first from Midnight Shine to have featured hired actors, but you’d never know it from the seamlessness of the production quality. This is a group that knows who they are and the precise kind of music that they want to play, and instead of experimenting with their sound or trying to reestablish some element within their music as a modified centerpiece in “Lonely Boy,” Adrian Sutherland & Midnight Shine play to their strengths in this all-new single and video and wind up looking like the talented, well-versed pros that they unquestionably are. The bottom line? This is a worthwhile acquisition if you dig smart Canadian pop/rock with a sensitive pulse.

Michael Rand]

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