Steady but never shy about drifting away from the standard rock template, the beats that listeners encounter in Relic Kings’ “Blinded by the Sun” are bouncy, buoyant and full of a rare vitality that drives every stitch of audio in this single from the much buzzed Moose Factory-stationed band. A fusion of country grooves, pop framework and an old fashioned rock n’ roll heart give this track a diverse sonic profile that sets it apart from the mundane mainstream fodder making noise on the American side of the border this summer, but I wouldn’t rush to file Relic Kings under the same blanket “indie” genre that I would their contemporaries in or outside of Canada.
“Blinded by the Sun” has a really physical mix, which makes the presence of its warm string melodies impossible to ignore, particularly in the chorus. This is a pretty basic song structure, centering on a flamboyant hook that pulverizes us with its percussive swagger, but the route that Relic Kings take to the finish line here is anything but traditional. They’re using instrumental textures and understated elements in their sound to convey a deeper message that words alone never could, and if that isn’t brilliant songwriting, then I really don’t know what is.
Where this single runs into some problems is in the vocal track, which is rather underwhelming in comparison with the other components here. With some more oomph, or perhaps a more defined EQ, it would match the gilded stylization that the rest of the band has in “Blinded by the Sun,” but as it stands now, it sort of waters down the fever pitch of the chorus beyond what I would deem acceptable. It’s not so severe an issue that the song becomes unlistenable, but it’s something that Relic Kings could improve upon in the future without question.
I’m very fascinated with this group at the moment, and I’m admittedly eager to hear more from them as they grow into this sound a bit more than they already have in “Blinded by the Sun.” More than anything else, I think that it would be really prudent of Relic Kings to embrace the edgier side of their sound in any forthcoming output, leaning more on the experimental than they do the eclectic when assembling a signature single such as this one. At the end of the day, this is a decent track that fits into a road trip playlist really well, and that’s not something I can say for a lot of the Canadian rock music I’ve heard over the summer so far.