McKay is a band focusing on creating music that blurs the lines between different styles, including alternative and indie-folk. At times intimate and personal, at others energetic and fierce, the group’s sound is organic and easy to relate to. McKay’s most recent release, “Plugged,” offers a warm sound, highlighting the band’s retro aesthetics. The electric guitars, in particular, add a raw, edgy quality to the song, contributing to its immediacy. The harmonica parts are also outstanding, adding to the classic charm of the arrangement and bringing an emotive quality to the mix. The mid-tempo song is built on the backbone of a back-to-basic drum beat, which does a great job of propelling the music and adding some energy without overpowering the other instruments. The bass line has a plucky, bouncy tone, which is reminiscent of 60s bass tones. The mellower approach provides some low-end impact to the mix but still enables the guitars, vocals, and harmonica to stand out for their bright and present characteristics. One of the key components of the song is the synergy between the electric and acoustic guitars.
When combined, the two instruments provide a jangly rhythm, which benefits from the percussive attack of the acoustics and the warm sound of the electrics, making for a grittier edge that’s grown to becoming a staple of contemporary folk-rock music. “Plugged” enables the acoustic roots of the band to interlace with McKay’s rock energy, making for a perfect in-between.
The vocal harmonies and personal lyrics are reminiscent of songwriters like AA Bondy, while the old-school aesthetic of the sounds are akin to classic artists like Tom Petty and Bob Dylan. The choruses have a brighter, melodic twist that actually dives into indie rock territory. The open electric guitar chords and staccato riffs are a subtle nod to bands like Pavement or Francis Moon. Comparisons aside, McKay created a very personable and direct sound, which transcends the group’s influences to form a very well-defined identity.
Find out more about McKay and don’t miss out on “Plugged” by connecting with the band on Spotify or Instagram.