Midnight Shine are winning over a lot of new fans this September, and it isn’t at all hard to see why when you take a look at their new music video for the single “Lonely Boy.” With as much vitality and emotionality in its shots as we hear in the song’s fluidly structured verses, the video for “Lonely Boy” takes a good track and turns it into a stadium-shaking power ballad that will leave any rocker begging for more. Here, singer Adrian Sutherland paints us a tear-jerking picture with his tender lead vocal while his cohorts in Midnight Shine colorize the lyrics with a flamboyant, string-focused harmony, and together they celebrate one of the most influential relationships that any person can experience in this life: that of a father and his child.
Going off of the music video’s visuals alone, it’s easy to see why Sutherland described this as the most personal song he’s ever written. There’s no mistaking the love that went into this story, and moreover, the pain that he was experiencing in dealing with the loss of his own dad not too long ago. Though you don’t have to see the video to feel the underlying retrospection that binds all of the melodies together with their adjacent verses, its nearly four and a half minutes of play breakdown the narrative of the track in a way that will change how you process this latest release from Midnight Shine. There aren’t any fancy props or external pomp to sift through in “Lonely Boy;” there’s just real, honest humanity of the most exposed variety.
You don’t have to be a big contemporary rock fan to dig the string play that comprises the backbone for this song, but for those of us who are, you’d be hard-pressed to find the same flowing riffage anywhere else in indie music right now. The synthetically-stylized, augmented bass and treble tones that a lot of so-called rock groups lean on are totally missing from “Lonely Boy,” and rather than filling in the void with a lot of electronically-faceted textures, Midnight Shine went old school and utilized nothing more than raw amplified heat and a little dash of tempered swing. Some might call it retro in nature, but to me, it’s the most forward-thinking move that a band could make in this current climate.
If “Lonely Boy” is indeed setting a new standard for what we can expect to hear out of Adrian Sutherland & Midnight Shine in the future, you can definitely count on hearing a lot more of their work on both sides of the dial as 2019 fades to black and the 2020s finally come into focus. They’re exploiting every bit of potential that they’ve got in this song and music video, and while I’m pretty confident that it doesn’t represent some sort of creative ceiling for their brand, it’s undisputedly a major highpoint in their career together thus far. As much as it is the case with High Road, the album that spawned this single, “Lonely Boy” is required listening for rock fans everywhere this month.