PREMIERE: Zuli Dials in A Classic Pop Gem with “Kubadiver”

The NY-based singer lets his hair out.

Ryan Camenzuli’s “Kubadiver” begins with a static scroll across a radio dial before coming to rest on a choppy guitar and a plaintive croon from the man himself. “Say what you want to say,” Camenzuli, who records as the semi-eponymous Zuli, sings as the chords descend, “But I wanted you to stay a little more with me.” He’s accompanied by soft harmonies, and for a brief, crystal-clear moment we get a glimpse of pristine guitar-pop pushed by the same lovelorn drive that powered Girls circa Father, Son, Holy Ghost.

The dial flips, though, and suddenly Camenzuli’s smooth sailing ceases and he runs aground while his band whips into a frenzy of guitars and organs, slashing drums and splashing cymbals. Voices coalesce in harmony behind Camenzuli, dissipate into a babel of chaos between lines, then quickly fall back in place. They make it to a bridge, where the view is no less chaotic, but the strength of Camenzuli’s melodies get them across, and then we’re at the end.

It’s a bright and strange trip, one that highlights both Camenzuli’s inventiveness as an arranger and producer—aural flotsam soars around this thing, just barely at the edges of centripetal motion—and his considerable strength as a melodicist; no matter how wild things get, the song never loses its edge or takes its eyes off the mission it sets for itself at the start. Just like that, the dial turns again, one more classic pop song out in the wilds of the world. And it’s captured here just for you in a premiere; check it out below.

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