It’s no easy task to make music that sounds fresh while drawing inspiration from the vibes of the past.
Yet, when a band manages to reach this careful balance – the sweet spot between innovation and referentiality – the result can be a timeless track that’s as fun as it is unforgettable.
“Undercover Retro” by The Upsides is a perfect example of a successful blend of the present and past vibes. A groovy and full-out-funky rhythm lays the foundation for upbeat guitar chords and Matt Fullam’s catchy lyrics. However, the power of this track lies in its apparent simplicity, which hides the band’s ability to create irresistible rock hits.
There are a bunch of great components to this track, but the funk-inspired bassline, performed by worldwide-known bass player Ken Rich, is a thing of beauty. It glues together the different elements of the track and adds energy to the rhythm section, and it’s delivered with the sort of subtle skill that makes you want to simultaneously snap your fingers and study each note he plays.
The guitar riffs are clearly 70s-inspired, reminiscent of the summer rock hits of old while simultaneously embracing a more contemporary sound. The result is a relaxed yet upbeat track that rock listeners of all ages can enjoy.
Honestly, I wouldn’t be surprised to hear this song played in a DJ set by the sea while sipping some fruity and awfully expensive cocktail. The Upsides named Daft Punk (among other acts) as a source of inspiration for their sound, and I couldn’t agree more: The funk-inspired groove and the sense of timelessness permeating the piece are characteristics the group seems to share with the legendary electronic producers.
“Undercover Retro” is the perfect example of what a single should be; it’s the best possible introduction to a band’s sound, condensed into four minutes of unforgettable music. There’s not a single element in the song that overshadows the others. Each instrument blend seamlessly with the song’s groove, with Matt’s voice guiding listeners on a smooth sonic journey to somewhere nostalgic.
If you enjoyed this piece, make sure you check out The Upsides’ previous EP Patterns for an extra dose of summer rock vibes and energetic funk. You can find the group on Spotify, Instagram and Facebook.