A supple percussive intro is followed by a searing vocal ala Ms. Ashley Hess as we enter “Skunks Misery Road,” King’s white-hot single performed alongside the City Blog, but these first few strands of melodic gold are only a taste of what’s about to come pouring out of the speakers over the next five minutes. The slow beats aren’t oversized, but the harmonies are rebelliously experimental, skewing a progressive rhythm with a spicy swagger that is unique to this band’s hybrid sound. We’re meant to follow the ebb and flow of the drums in this track, and if listeners aren’t careful, they could easily find themselves lost in the abyss of ambient textures, sizzling tonality, and surreal atmosphere created by the mere delivery of the lyrics.
The first couple of times that I sat down to review “Skunks Misery Road,” I couldn’t help but zero in on the lack of frills in the actual composition itself; truth be told, this is a pretty barebones piece of material. Anyone who has heard their music before knows that Gideon King & City Blog doesn’t need any fancy bells and whistles to make a big statement, and that’s made very obvious to us here. ”Skunks Misery Road” will be featured on the band’s upcoming EP, ‘Splinters.’
The arrangement in “Skunks Misery Road” is deceptively soft and almost folkish despite the soulful packaging, but if we listen closely enough there’s an unmistakable jazz hue to the way that it’s been worked into the track. I’m not saying that this isn’t 100% of an experiment, but there’s no denying the headier influence in the construction of the bassline, and to be exact, its relationship with the vocal track. Listening to this song makes me wonder what it must be like to see Gideon King & City Blog in person because if they’re able to take the chill-inducing presence that they’ve got in this single onto the stage with them, their performance could be one of the more remarkable of any actively touring group of musicians currently making noise in the underground. “Skunks Misery Road” could be transformed into an extended jam in a live setting, and I for one would love to hear it in that capacity sometime soon.
As the haunting melodies and illicit grooves shadowing every word we’ve just heard fall into a soft silence and dissipate into the ethers, leaving nothing but silence and a void where intrepid beats once reigned supreme, it’s not uncommon to feel the vibrations of the tempo continuing to play on in your mind, even though the music is no longer flooding the room around us. I was only somewhat aware of Gideon King & City Blog before hearing “Skunks Misery Road” for the first time just recently, but if this is a fair sampling of what they can do when they’re working out some new songs inside of a recording studio, then you can sign me up for more. This is one of the smoothest new tracks that I’ve listened to in a long while, and considering how many incredible releases we’ve heard out of the genre in the last year, that’s saying a lot.