There’s a dissonance tucked beneath the layers of lush melodicism in the new single “Playing Both Sides” from Dom Rivers, and while it could be chocked up to the brilliant aesthetical friction his performance yields beside that of his collaborator in Demon Marcus, I think it’s a little more complicated to break down. From the second the music starts to fill the air right up until the moment it disappears out of reach, there’s a sense of righteousness in the harmonies and the beats around them that suggest urgency and anticipation of something grand emerging into existence. This is music to power you up and get your day started, and it rightly rises into view like a rising sun in the morning.
The beat here is so sexy that it’s easy to confuse its swing with the bassline’s, but as the vocals grow in size and strength, the instrumental details begin to meld into the verses and take on a singularly expressive force in the song and, for that matter, the sophisticatedly simple music video. There’s not any stress on the percussion, but it feels like it’s being choked from the pressure emitted from the vocal harmony in the chorus. The tension gets extreme for our leading men, but at no point do they ever clash in their melodic handiwork here.
I didn’t know anything about Dom Rivers before I heard “Playing Both Sides,” but if he and Demon Marcus can get something more than they already have out of the joint talent put to use in this single and music video, they’d be crazy to leave it unexploited. This is one of the coolest collaborative slow jams I’ve heard in months, and with live concerts out of the question for the time being, it’s got just the right chill vibes to compensate for the lack of dancefloor decadences this November.