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Martian Subculture’s second official single “I’ll Be Gold”

In the new music video for Martian Subculture’s second official single, “I’ll Be Gold,” audiences are treated to a psychedelically-stylized collection of visuals that are as cerebral and mind-bending as the soundtrack is. Coming in at only two and a half minutes in total running time, “I’ll Be Gold” is a song that, on paper, is as short and sweet as they come, but within the less than one hundred and fifty seconds that the music video lasts, the gritty animations meshed with gnawing melodicism emit more substance than most anything currently occupying the top slots on the American Billboard charts would.

A colorful comic character takes the wheel of a convertible (and later, a spaceship) across a stellar plain adorned with buildings and clouds that are like something out of an episode of Rick & Morty. Our attention is divided between the surreal landscape unfolding before our eyes and the swaying beats in the background, but never is there any need for debate as to who the true star of this show really is.

Instrumentally, “I’ll Be Gold” is built on the foundation of a relaxed string arrangement that pendulously slides in and out of focus in the mix, occasionally turning the lion’s share of the spotlight over to the half-whispered vocal harmony driving the beat of the drums. The percussion itself is fairly muted in comparison with the other elements in the song, but I wouldn’t say that it fails to contribute an important texture to the structure of the hook. The tempo churns us in circles not unlike what we would experience in some sort of vicious whirlpool, but the twisting and turning in the melody doesn’t infect the rhythm of the music with any sort of discord, nor does it fragment the fluidity of the track with any unnecessary chaos – a common problem that I’ve encountered in new indie rock released in the last month or so. In a year that has been thus far defined by an ever-growing surrealism trend in pop music, this is actually one of the few instances where I’ve seen the concept utilized efficiently. Instead of going as overindulgent as they possibly could here, Martian Subculture applies their postmodern style of attack in a rather conservative fashion, which not only makes it a lot more accessible than its litany of counterparts in the underground and the mainstream are, but more importantly, it maximizes the depth of tonality in the instrumentation backing up the verses here with an elegance that really makes this single a must-listen.

Martian Subculture are the new kid on the block right now, but if “I’ll Be Gold” is a genuine sampling of what this group is capable of dishing out inside of the studio environment, then I think it would be completely justifiable for us to call for a full-length album from these cats in the near future. This is a sublime and sophisticated single, and for it being only their sophomore release under this moniker, it speaks volumes about the potential that they have moving forward. 2019 has had no shortage of intriguing and stimulating new music on both sides of the dial, but in this song we discover a band that is delivering something quite unlike anything else that I’ve personally had the pleasure of reviewing this season.

John McCall

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