A breezy song with a melancholy core. Tempo-wise, it’s a finger-snapper but listen attentively and you’ll hear a song that again and again resists resolution, both melodically and harmonically. The expectant vibe with which it launches never quite disappears. That’s what makes it feel kind of lost and lonely, independent of the lyrics (which sound lost and lonely too, though, as much as I can grasp them).
So what’s going on is that the song is rooted in a chord that is not the song’s tonic chord. The tonic chord is, typically, the home base of a song, the chord based on the song’s key (i.e., if a song is written in D major, the D major chord is the tonic chord). We don’t need to hear this chord all the time but it’s usually there to ground us. “Do You Hear” opens up on one chord, stays with it for nearly half a minute, and it’s not the tonic. This would feel pretty edgy except for the bouncy demeanor. And it is this juxtaposition that gives the song its depth and allure, as far as I can tell. In the chorus, by the way, we get a kind of opposite effect, as the melody stays focused mostly on one note as the chords shuffle through a progression that finally resolves—briefly—when the melody drops through to the tonic note (heard the first time at 0:53, on the third iteration of “things you’ve done”). But listen to how quickly we are kicked away from that moment, emphasized by a guitar riff yet again away from the tonic chord. Even the song’s final chord (3:02) keeps the resolution at bay, a not-often-heard effect.
A quintet from Brisbane, Cub Scouts is a new band with two singles so far to their name. “Do You Hear” will appear on a forthcoming EP.