Side Car - 'Kelly'

Independent Spotlight is a continuing series on Stewart’s blog. The series revolves around independent artists and bands sending their music to Brett to review. No band is promised a positive review, and all music is reviewed honestly in an effort to better independent music.

In this edition of the Independent Spotlight, we’re going to shine our gaze on Side Car, a rising electro funk duo hailing from New York. They’ve just put out their newest track, a tune entitled ‘Kelly,’ and they’re promoting it via their own umbrella of Side Car Jamz Publishing. The performers attempt to blend vintage and contemporary styles of funk and soul to create something wholly new and authentic. Do they succeed? Let’s dig into the new song and find out.

Side Car’s lineup consists of Zach Lucas and Aaron Smith. The former has been consistently lauded for his musical skills and the latter is a prolific DJ and producer. The combination of the two results in a sound that’s definitely eclectic, dousing itself in reverb, 70s-esque synthesizers, and slick, suave harmonies. It’s a production that has no missteps - akin to a good Motown performance or the like.

The good of ‘Kelly’ is quite substantial. It’s very well performed, the beats and synthesizers dance together nicely, and the track is very catchy. The production quality is incredibly high, too, and I found myself really digging its groove on a quality set of studio monitors. Side Car definitely accomplishes what they set out to do - pay homage to their influences while pushing a genre into this century with fantastic force.

It’s not a perfect production, however, and ‘Kelly’ does suffer some minor, but nevertheless noticeable issues. The production drowns out the saxophone at 3:20, which is a shame, because it’s one of the only parts of ‘Kelly’ that don’t feel constructed by a computer and a drum machine. That’s the other problem: the atmosphere, at times, feels a bit sterile. When you’ve perfectly checked off every box with your synthesizers and timed harmonies, there is an element of spontaneity and emotion that feels lost in translation.

Is ‘Kelly’ too slick, then? Perhaps. That’s a subjective observation, though, and it may very well be exactly the track you need it to be - no more, no less. Regardless, it’s a very good song worth checking out if you have a penchant for soul or funk that’s heavily lathered in pop sensibility. Check them out below: