Coming in with a home-spun indie feel, The Masterminds have released a new track titled “Shady Lane” that blends folk rock with elements of DIY garage bands. “Shady Lane” purposefully creates a textured sound that comes off as muddled and low fi, complementing the lyrical content.
The music on this track contributes to the garage band field, not so much due to the actual music, but due to the final mixing and production. The song consists of standard guitar riffs, overlaid by what sounds like a marimba for verses, and the chorus has a much more textured sound with more supporting guitar and heavier percussion. The final mixing puts the individual instruments together in a way that blends the sounds. “Shady Lane” has a very lo-fi feel and after listening to several other tracks from the Masterminds, including “Boomerang” which I really enjoyed, I think that the lo-fi, DIY sound on “Shady Lane” is intentional, or at least partly intentional. The garage band sound pairs well with the lyrical content.
The lyrics are definitely my favorite part of this track. The lyrics center on nostalgia. Nostalgia is one of the most potent emotions, something that conjures up rose colored glasses for the “good ole’ days,” no matter what the reality was. “Shady Lane” completes that goal and gives that feeling of nostalgia for something I never personally experienced. The song tells a story about a past relationship that centers around a suburban street called “Shady Lane.” The narrator has fond memories of the past relationship but expresses regret at the relationship’s ending. I think the saving grace of “Shady Lane” as a song is the reliability of the lyrics. Lyrics like “If you should wake up dreamin’, I hope I’m there with you” give the song a sense of longing, in addition to the nostalgia established by lines as explicit as “old summertime on Shady Lane.” The combination of longing and warm nostalgia gives “Shady Lane” a well-worn path on which to progress. Personally, I was not a huge fan of the vocal performance from the New Jersey based group, but it does complement the almost “coming of age” mood of the song.
“Shady Lane” by the Masterminds does a lot of things well, including communicating an emotion with nostalgic lyrics, creating a textured sound that fits the garage band aesthetic, and delivering an engaging listening experience. While the vocal performance was not to my taste, and the muddled, lo-fi sound is not one of my favorite sounds in music, there is certainly a market for this song. I would recommend anyone to check out some of the Masterminds other songs with more punk influence, to hear the sonic diversity of the group. I really enjoyed the distinct verse vs. chorus on “Shady Lane,” and the musicality of the track was very solid. Go check out the Masterminds new single and keep posted for new music.