Little Stranger’s “Sing It High” illustrates the continued growth and realization of this alternative/ hip hop duo without ever betraying the foundational elements that have thus far brought them renown. Kevin and John Shields, not related, are the core of this inventive and musically powerful unit and their preceding EP and full length release established them as among the most creative performers and writers working in the modern scene today, yet you can’t quite pin them down. The stylistic veneer they adopt for their music isn’t like anyone else today, though attentive listeners may discern some influences percolating their way through the duo’s music, and they manage to imbue their recordings with every bit of their individual personalities to help the material stand out even more. Little Stranger’s “Sing It High” continues their successful run with a single that engages the listener’s brain and definitely prods the body to move.
“Sing It High” kicks off with some crisp, snappy drumming that follows a somewhat intricate pattern but still hooks into listener’s brains. One can definitely envision this song as the first track on their upcoming EP Styles & Dynamics, but it doesn’t matter if it isn’t – this is a track that brings listeners into its world no matter where it falls in a running order. It’s a fully realized lyrical and musical experience that extends itself for enough time to make a deep impact on all but the most jaded listeners without ever overextending itself in any fashion. The instruments all fall in the right place and the timing they show in both performing and the track’s overall composition makes a much more invigorating experience. There’s an air surrounding this song that recalls, in some ways, alternative hip hop influenced acts from the nineties and early 21st century, but Little Stranger has their own personal style that comes through in every passage of the song.
The primary engine of the song, however, is unquestionably the vocals. Charisma is key to this style of music and Little Stranger has plenty to burn, but everything about the vocal delivery underlines the intelligence that’s an underrated part of their approach. The vocal melody memorably juxtaposes with the percussion in the song and the winding quality it takes on hooks you in from the first. They come at the singing with a drummer’s instincts – everything is tailored to the beat and they snap out individual lines with every bit of the same crack that the percussion brings to the song. There’s some surprising harmony vocals that increases the musicality of the piece and their vocal phrasing, likewise, embraces genuine melodic virtues that makes the song even more memorable. “Sing It High” is a great opening single for Ltitle Stranger’s new EP and pops with the same potent mix of brains and musical brilliance that’s characterized their musical career since the beginning.