The Side Deal release Lyric Video

Lyric videos can be as bland as dry toast or as brilliant as a Banksy, with very few ever settling in the grey area in between. In the case of The Side Deal’s new visual experience for “I Can See Clearly Now,” it would honestly surprise me a great deal if I were the only critic placing it in the latter category. Though still a somewhat traditional lyric video, designed to get the audience engaged with the words more than anything else, “I Can See Clearly Now” feels like a full-fledged music video, boasting more color and excitement than some of the more minimalist-inspired content gaining steam in the American underground this summer.

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The vocals are, at times, even more potent than some of the instrumentation is in this song (not to mention a whole lot crisper in the grander scheme of things). This isn’t to dismiss the mix of the other melodic components in the track as lacking at all, but rather to simply acknowledge just how powerful a force the vocal harmony is here, particularly when we’re careening through the chorus on the back of a gusty groove. It’s not rocket science, but developing this kind of sonic momentum still isn’t a super easy task, even for the most talented of players.

Despite the fact that The Side Deal are covering an undeniably classic song in the American pop lexicon, scarcely is there a moment in “I Can See Clearly Now” that feels inorganic or recycled in any fashion. It would have been easier to strip down the percussion in the style of the original, but this band is too smart for that; they want to go bold or go home here, and their moxie is a big part of the reason why this track and its video are so addictive.

In the lyric video for “I Can See Clearly Now,” the movements in the music are synchronized with the imagery on-screen as to create a rather surreal effect as we get closer towards the end of the song, but this definitely isn’t a stab at postmodern pop. The Side Deal are, for all intents and purposes, a straightforward pop-rock band that wouldn’t appear to have any legitimate interest in diving into the deep alternative half of their genre, but instead of translating as retrogressive here, they’re doing the opposite. They’re soulful and strong, which is usually a bit more reliable (and consistent) than over-ambitiousness has ever been.

Those who weren’t already listening to The Side Deal might want to think about doing so this June, as their cover of “I Can See Clearly Now” is definitely one of the more superb lyric video/single duos that the underground has submitted to the general public this year. There are a lot of ways to make a cover song work, and in my opinion, this band showcases one of the simpler channels through which to operate in their latest release. It’s telling of how far they can go with this project, and moreover, how effective they can be with fans.

Michael Rand 

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