Little Stranger – Sing It High


Charleston, South Carolina by way of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Little Stranger is a duo occupying their own individualistic niche in the modern music world and we’re all better for it. They have one full length album and an EP under their belt, but their latest single “Sing It High” promises to take their music and exposure to a higher level than ever before. Their indie hip hop style belongs to no other act, solo or otherwise, currently on the scene and the complementary talents of John and Kevin Shields (no relation) continue to light a fire in listener’s imaginations while coming across with an immense amount of musicality and intelligence alike. Their musical blend incorporates some unusual instrumentation into a hip hop styled tune and they are wildly successful at doing so. “Sing It High” likely marks another turning point for this unique act and may be their best recording yet.

The loose, warm confidence Little Stranger has in their music is evident from the first seconds of “Sing It High” and never fades. Little Stranger puts first class production values to work on the song – everything from the acoustic guitar, bass, and drums are invested with a vibrant sound that reaches out from the speakers and grabs listeners by their ear. It has a mid-tempo pace from the first, but the drumming is a little busier than the other instruments and its steady “rolling” quality helps the song unwind in a very entertaining way. Little Stranger, unlike many of their peers, are adept at incorporating melody into what they do and while these elements may embrace a straight forward simplicity, they are direct and hold the audience’s attention with minimal effort. There are some additional instruments introduced into the song as it progresses and the second half bubbles with colorful flourishes that make it an even more engaging experience.


John and Kevin Shields do a particularly exemplary job of portioning the singing between them and there’s even some entertaining vocal harmonies tossed in for good measure. The vocal presentation here is far more charismatic than typical entries in this style without ever lapsing into the essentially vacant histrionics other acts of this ilk typically rely on. The lyrical content won’t soon be mistaken for performed poetry, but it has the same intensely musical and rhythmic style of the arrangement and, thereof, complements the song’s sound quite nicely. It has a number of inventive turns, as well, in the lyrics that show the duo is compositionally astute as well as focused on having a good time. They, undoubtedly, provide the audience with a good time as well. There’s much about to admire about the duo’s latest single and they manage the impressive feat of balancing audience appeal with artistic substance. Little Stranger’s “Sing It High” promises that their forthcoming EP Styles & Dynamics will be their finest moment yet since the Shields first began working together and that they are far from slowing down. The track was mixed by legendary mixer Mark Needham (The Killers, Imagine Dragons, Neon Trees)


William Elgin