“Levels” by These People

“Levels” by These People will give you chills. It’s hard to even find the words to describe it because it’s almost scientific. The rhythms are delightfully uneven and the tonality/modality stretches past the norm. The closest it comes to resembling a genre is psychedelic rock, but it also utilizes elements of alternative, indie, and pop–think The Doors meets Tame Impala. It hits this sweet spot that pretty much all musicians strive to hit: complex enough to satisfy other musicians, but accessible enough that anyone could love it.

The song begins with some spacy, vibrato-laden guitar and a wind-like sound effect. The band crashes in suddenly with a melodic bass line, some gloriously non-diatonic guitar chords, and a washy drum groove. The verse begins, and we transition into a 9/8 time signature. The bass carries the rhythm and the vocals almost just ornament it. “Which is the way to get us there?” the singer cries, each phrase in short spurts over the complicated yet fascinating accompaniment. The chorus is signified by a wildly unexpected chord, then we plummet into this mind-meltingly dreamy atmosphere, rife with vocal doubling, odd timing, and reverb.

Once you make it to the latter half of the song, you’ll be presented with a thrilling combination of textures. Strings, harmonies, and tom-driven drum grooves take over. Once again, it’s almost difficult to describe how artistic and captivating this piece is. It’s impossible to get bored. That being said, check out These People! “Levels” is unlike anything you have ever heard before or likely will ever hear again.

Written by Alyce Lindberg





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