Smooth, funky, soulful… three adjectives that won’t seem to go away in this age of neo-soul revivalism and Anderson Paak. dominance. Don’t get me wrong, these aren’t bad qualities for a song to have, and Anderson is nothing short of a total badass, but the sea of jazzy chords, watery e-pianos, and too-cool-for-you vocals in which today’s R&B/Funk scene is all but drowning itself is slowly but surely developing into super smooth, super funky, super soulful white noise. Fortunately, “Oceans”, the newest track from New York City trio The Visions, is a perfect lesson on how to be all of these things without sacrificing a shred of uniqueness or replay value.
Made up of brothers Ben and Michael Shugarman, along with longtime friend Ryan Brooks, The Visions– who wrote, produced, and recorded everything you’re hearing- use their Twitter bio to dub themselves “the last boy band”. And, while the trio’s indisputable pop-sensibility is part of what makes “Oceans” an infectious, cliché-free success, it’s only one piece of the equation. The vibes here are tropical, the instrumentation is lush and groovy, the rhythms are bouncy, the vocals are layered and captivating, and the lyrics are gorgeously simple and catchy. Moreover, an incredible attention to detail results in little touches like sudden, synchronized swells and even bursts of laughter within the track that make “Oceans” feel like a living, breathing performance, rather than a mere MP3 file.
The Visions certainly seem to have, well, a strong vision in place when it comes to their genre-blending sound. What they lack in musical conformity, they more than make up for with bounding creativity and an apparent sixth sense for groove, which yields some pretty damn good results. Listening to “Oceans” and getting lost in its many waves is much cheaper than any plane ticket to the Caribbean; so go ahead, press play and let it take you to that imaginary beach you know you want to visit, if only for a few minutes.[title maintitle=”PASSPORT” subtitle=”Previous tracks from The Visions”]