Tyler Earls is taking a stand. With his latest single and music video, “Show Me The Dark,” Earls is standing up to his isolation and anxiety, in five adventurous minutes of fuzzy, soothing, psychedelic sound that shows a wide-ranging musical palette for such a young artist. Released under his musical pseudonym Cuckoo and The Birds, the accompanying video is a fun, blocky, retro video game tour around the world, as you observe an animated version of Earls taking in sights and surroundings that Super Mario could only dream of.

The song itself is about that feeling that you get when you’re growing up and growing out of those childhood feelings. You suddenly realize that you’ve grown out of that feeling and it becomes unrecognizable to you. Musically, “Show Me The Dark” features a vast, expansive landscape of sounds and effects, with violins, slide guitar, synthesizers, and vocals all working together in beautiful harmony.

Explaining the background behind the song, Earls said “‘Show Me The Dark’ was originally recorded in the winter of 2019 with the intention to include it in a future release with the new band. When the pandemic happened, we stopped rehearsals before we had a chance to learn all the songs together and record them. As a result, this track is a bit of an outlier, and to me, that’s fitting because the arrangement features a lot of elements I haven’t had before: violins, electric drums, synthesizers, a poem I wrote the night before tracking.

The first iteration of this song was written during a time of high-functioning anxiety for me. As I reflected then on my life at the elder age of 25, I identified many fond memories from my younger adulthood with details that had become fuzzy or forgotten over time. ‘Show Me The Dark’ was born out of a desperation to regain access to those obscured memories and the self-inhabiting them which felt so far that it seemed like a past life.”

While Earls may be the driving force behind the project, he has recently expanded it to be a full-fledged band, featuring Dominic Glimco on bass, and Zachary Taylor on drums. Based in Chicago, they push the creative boundaries of pop-rock, experimenting with extended harmonies, blending power pop sensibilities with a certain pensiveness. Their debut EP Twin Stars was released in August 2019, shortly before Glimco joined the band last February to really solidify their sound.

Interestingly enough, Glimco has never played live with the band before, having joined right at the beginning of the pandemic. This fact makes it all the more impressive that they were able to conjure up as much chemistry as they have on “Show Me The Dark.” With live music perhaps on the horizon again sometime soon, Cuckoo and The Birds are ready to more fully reveal themselves to what promises to be a very impressed musical community soon.

Artwork for “Show Me The Dark” by Cuckoo and The Birds