The Sharon Lia Band delivers a smashing progressive pop tidal wave in their all-new single “Why Can’t We Pretend?,” and if you haven’t already taken the time out to give it a spin, I’d highly recommend doing so this August. “Why Can’t We Pretend?” is built around a powerhouse lead vocal from Lia herself, but its multifaceted melodies and percussive thrust promise to give audiences just as many thrills as the bittersweet serenade occupying center stage does. This is pure, epic pop that is relentlessly cathartic where it counts the most, and while it’s only a glimpse into the SLB’s forthcoming record Beyond Wonderland, my gut tells me that this song is a good representation of what its parent LP is going to be all about.
After a stirring piano intro that oozes out of the speakers with a thick, menacing bassline behind it, the harmonies become electrified and the track transitions into a straight rock piece. Like the eruption of a long-dormant volcano, Lia and her cohorts set fire to everything around them, burning through some seriously stadium-shaking beats that are quite reminiscent of those we’d hear in a classic rock song. There’s never a point where the track devolves into something wholly predictable (or even slightly derivative), but I definitely think that the band was trying to pay homage to some of their more iconic influences with the release of this single. It’s got the look and feel of something Heart would have cut in their prime, but with a distinctly modern, progressive-style edge.
This master mix makes both the song and the video for “Why Can’t We Pretend” feel even more cinematic and larger than life than either would have been on their own. Instead of being exclusively a visual treat, this music video insists on engaging us in every possible way, binding imagery and brooding grooves together with wondrous colors to maximizing the intimacy of the performance by staying away from over the top bombast. The Sharon Lia Band knows exactly what kind of a group they want to be, and this recording is perhaps their most demonstrative statement piece to see widespread release since their initial formation over half a decade years ago. They’re not searching for their sound anymore; they’ve struck the perfect balance between sugar and spice here.
This has been an excellent summer for both rock n’ roll and mainstream pop music, but the Sharon Lia Band’s “Why Can’t We Pretend” is truly in a class of its own. There’s a lot for us to take in here, and more than that, I actually think that this track poses more questions than it does answers about the future of its creators. This is a band facing the most critical juncture of their young career together, and when we strip away the expectations that some of their fans and the press might have, there are literally dozens of directions that they could take this sound in if they saw fit. They’ve got a lot going for them right now, and if I were the Sharon Lia Band, I would continue to keep the open-minded studio attitude that led to the recording of this fabulous new single/video combo.
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