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University of Rochester

What Would You Do - Single (2013)


Review By Michael Marcus

May 28, 2014

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Michael Marcus

Trebellious, a new-ish mixed group at the University of Rochester, claims on its website that it "has been breaking down barriers since its inception" in 2009. Based solely on this track, a straight-ahead cover of Bastille’s cover of that one City High song we all know and love, I’m not quite sure exactly which barriers they’re talking about.

First, the good news. Dynamics, normally a weak area for new groups, don’t seem to be a problem for Trebellious. The opening — a series of raw yet choral "ooh"s and "aah"s backed by tribal drums and culminating in a dissonant primal yell — is fantastic. (Speaking of drums, the vp here is just awesome, thumping and crashing and lending these proceedings a much-needed flavor of Bastillesque epicness.) The song as a whole builds very nicely too, with each chorus a bit more insistent and energetic than the one before.

Ultimately, however, it’s the male and female leads that keep this from being a good track. The male lead's voice is neither soulful enough for hip-hop nor gritty enough for rock, and his over-enunciation of lyrics like "Saturday night, was at this real wild party" takes you right out of the song’s narrative. The ending, a last wistful duet between the two, is also weak, coming as it does after the swelling final chorus.

Thankfully, at a slim 2:58 this track doesn’t overstay its welcome. But next time, I’d love to see Trebellious really break some barriers by letting its good arranging instincts run wild and finding a lead who can truly wail.


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