In the new single “Reasons,” pop-rockers Scoville Unit prove once and for all that in alternative music, and any structure-dominant genre of music, sometimes the notion that less is more isn’t just a concept to consider – it’s the straight-up recipe for success. Scoville Unit doesn’t try to get into our heads with a lot of fanciful experimentation behind the board in “Reasons,” nor do producers bring big synthetic guns into the mix rather than the organically melodic element classic alternative bands have built their reputation on in years past. This is barebones pop-rock with a highly provocative sonic finish, as could be expected from an act with such a telling moniker.
There’s a moderate punk influence in play in this single, and I don’t think you need to listen to the track at a very high volume to understand what I’m talking about. It isn’t that the swell of the instrumentation replicates the simplistic qualities of an old school pop-punk sound, but instead that the analog feel to the mix makes even straightforward melodic points of interest sound really exotic and even spacey. The arrangement left me addicted to this hook, and not just because of the compositional wit in the play.
I love how this vocal runs beside the string play in the background rather than on top of it, as would be the case if we were at a live performance from a band rather than just listening to a track on a decent pair of speakers. While still being relatively cut and dry in their construction of this track, Scoville Unit manages to make “Reasons” sound like a well-rehearsed piece of pure pop music in spots, if not a larger-than-life rock number simply condensed into a radio-friendly version of what we would likely hear in person.
The production quality is the biggest nod to indie rock influences of yore here, but it’s not such a feature that it makes me wonder whether or not the material was created solely to experiment with studio techniques. There’s too much heart in these harmonies, too much honesty in the kinship between our singer and the bassline for theirs to be a marriage of creative convenience, and anyone who thinks otherwise likely hasn’t listened to “Reasons” in its entirety this May.
Eclectic and embracive of minimalist rock trends without sounding like something that was made specifically to get the attention of a younger audience this spring, Scoville Unit’s “Reasons” brings us to the perfect middle-ground between the modern surreal indie rock movement and classic alt-rock as it was known in the so-called grunge era. As complicated as this song’s aesthetics are, it is as basic a compositional wonder as I could have hoped to review from such an impressive group of musicians, which says an awful lot about what they can do to a pop track when given the space and time to make it perfect for the listener. Time will tell us more about who these guys are, but I like the story they’re starting to tell with this music for sure.