The Complex Dazzle of 81355’s “Thumbs Up”

I never knew I had a reason to love Indianapolis until hearing 81355’s new single, but in the very least I have to be grateful to the city for producing a level of talent that is brimming at every edge of the group and showcased in each second of their new single “Thumbs Up.”

A trill of arpeggiated vibraphone keys- akin to the ringing of a slot machine- acts as a motif throughout, seeming to set a rhythm before being offset and contrasted by the thumping bass and easy rapidity of the verse flow. Percussion follows with a snare in tow, pushing the buttons of cool and giving ample room for the group members’ respective verses to breathe. The dynamism and uniqueness of each approach to the material is invigorating in each change, offering new rhythms and sentiments that shift in and out like shadow puppets or projected images. While the production offers a dazzling array of textures to work with, the lyrics detail darker imagery- burning cars, graves, “towns full of ghosts,” that are echoed by an insidious synth lead that hangs over the lyrical interplay like a sickly cloud.

By the time the eponymous refrain plays 81355 out, the song as a whole resembles a completely different animal than that which it implied at the start. And like any good show, each encounter yields more and more richness under the surface.

“Thumbs Up” is out now and streaming everywhere. Don’t miss it!


Review by Bobby Guard


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