Swaying to a gentle beat in the distance, radiant strings wash us in their clandestine melody as we enter “Mockingbird,” the new single from Modern Crusoe, who emerges from the shadows of this opening salvo with a vocal that is as soft and tender as it is rife with a contemplativeness that will spread to anyone who happens to be within striking distance of its bold lyrical might. There’s a tension in his words that is reflective and somewhat regretful, but at the same time, we aren’t discouraged by the dirge in the rhythm. Instead, we’re encouraged to hold onto the harmony and give ourselves over to the poetic drawl of Modern Crusoe, who delivers the most ethereal ballad of the season in this, his most recent sonic gem.
As we climb out of the first stanza and get into the shimmering chorus, it becomes clear that, much like the buildup to this climactic release, even the cathartic fever pitch in “Mockingbird” is laced with a frustrated angst that we’re never able to completely escape. Trying to evade the emotion present in this track is next to impossible, but to be quite honest, I don’t know why you would want to. Modern Crusoe is wearing his heart on his sleeve with us here, and imparting unto us a narrative that is as relatable as it is intimately personal. There are a couple of instances where it feels as though he’s interpreting the eclectic thoughts that one would jot down in the first few minutes after waking up from a surreal dream, and others where it’s almost as if he’s singing in a stream of consciousness, improvised fashion.
The instrumental backdrop here reminds me of stripped-down version of shoegaze, because even when the rhythm of the song is sporting a fluidity that is second to none, it’s almost as if the music in the background is moving at a totally different pace than the vocal track is. This doesn’t create any chaos in the flow of the verses, but instead forges a textured relationship between the words and the bassline that wouldn’t have been there otherwise. It’s engrossing and easy to lose yourself in, but by and large, I would have to say that Modern Crusoe’s “Mockingbird” is a lot more focused and streamlined than the majority of similarly stylized material that I’ve heard in the American underground as of late.
In the closing thirty-five seconds of this single, we find ourselves dead center in an epic tizzy of instrumental muscle flexing, and as the last few notes slip into the darkness, the gilded harmonies that comprised the hook in the chorus linger in the air around us for what feels like an eternity. I wasn’t very familiar with the collective works of Modern Crusoe prior to picking up this single ahead of its official release alongside the new extended play Slow Bloom, but I plan on keeping up with his future recordings for sure. He’s got one of the more unique palates of anyone in his scene today, and I can’t wait to hear what he does with it from here on out.