Andrew Hendryx unleashes his most brooding performance to date in his all-new single “Into the Mystic,” and although it’s a cover of the staple Van Morrison track, you won’t find the hallmarks of a jaded recreation in this stunner of a song. Vocalist Dan Lotti of Dangermuffin cathartically belts out lyrics against a backdrop of rollicking grooves that gently push along an opulent string section that is as poignant as it is evocative and vibrant. If you haven’t heard his work before, “Into the Mystic” stands as an excellent foray into Hendryx’s unique skillset and collaborative capabilities, and moreover, a stylish brand of indie rock that is truly his and his alone.
The framework of the original version of the song is still intact here, but there’s high definition varnish applied both in the master mix and in Hendryx’s highbrow arrangement of the instrumentation to differentiate one rendition from another. Van Morrison’s body of work is one of the more challenging in all of pop to cover, but the substance of the material isn’t lost in translation in this cut which, if anything, is a bit more relaxed in tone than what I was anticipating. Everything here centers on the rich harmonies emanating from the strings and complementary vocal track, but the mix never feels lopsided or overwhelmingly skewed towards one element of the song over another.
In “Into the Mystic,” Hendryx’s mandolin play acts as an agent of seduction, wrapping its elegant notes around us relentlessly and constantly drawing us closer to the magic being conjured up from Dan Lotti’s work behind the microphone. This is one of the more agile versions of the song that I’ve heard before, but it doesn’t rush us through the waves of colorful riffage; Hendryx takes his time here, and allows for every stitch of sonic color to develop and expand in a collective burst of melodic fireworks.
Despite the patient tempo of the music and the immense confidence that is dispensed from center stage, there’s a certain level of urgency in this jazz-influenced arrangement of the percussion that keeps us on our toes for the whole of the single’s nearly five minutes of running time. The beats twist and turn, and though it’s never predictable where they’re going to lead us next, we never feel like everything is going to fall apart thanks to this erudite, meticulous mix. There are a lot of working parts to “Into the Mystic,” but Hendryx seamlessly commands them here in what could only be described as a masterful demonstration of both his talent and that of singer Dan Lotti’s.
To say that Andrew Hendryx’s new single lives up to the high standard set by its source material simply doesn’t do what he’s done with the song justice, and if you ask me, it’s representative of how far he’s come as an artist more than anything else. The ability to successfully cover a composition of this pedigree in itself is quite an achievement, but to give it the modern spin that he does here without cheapening the aesthetics of the original is something far more impressive altogether. In short, I highly recommend giving this track a listen this March.