“The only metaphor I can come up with for the Indian Jewelry journey is that big pile of spiraling trash in the Pacific Ocean. Surely we must also float back and forth,” frontman Tex Kerschen explained to Free Press Houston. The floating is understandable, given Indian Jewelry’s penchant for piecing together the avant-garde with tribal rhythms, growling synths, and the pitter-patter of a distant drum machine. Yet the mention of spiraling trash may be a little misguided. It implies an element of something disgusting that gurgles in a gutter, and Indian Jewelry is anything but.
A follow-up to 2010’s jagged Totaled, Peel It marks the Texas trio’s first release on Reverberation, the collective that curates the annual freak convention Austin Psych Fest. Perhaps it’s the label union, or Tex Kerschen and vocalist Erika Thrasher’s newfound parenthood, but nevertheless Indian Jewelry’s unclassifiable musical pursuits drift heavily towards a collective consciousness with Peel It.
The fluidity of Peel It’s tracks stem from the the density that seeps in through the cracks, carried by the marriage of reverb and space drones particularly with “See Forever” and “Guns”. You almost expect to hear Kerschen spit “now I want to be your dog” instead of “I want to spend some time with you” on the glam-punk “Heart Of a Dog”, but that’s just a testament to the duo’s brazen optimism, juxtaposing a traditional sullenness that pervades the noise realm, also seen in the hair-swirling psych anthem “Don’t Fear the Future.”
Startling with its melodic unsounds, abrasive drones, and white noise, Peel It is a mood piece, dense in atmosphere and light on narrative. The temperaments admittedly must settle when you’ve grown up somewhere that’s both oppressively humid and pleasantly sunny. Yet mostly, Peel It is a dare. But unlike the Velvet Underground’s notorious command to “peel back slowly and see”, Indian Jewelry is an immersive, demanding listen. “Rip open and rejoice,” if you will.
Essential Tracks: “Guns”, “Vital Lately”, and “Heart Of a Dog”