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Indian Jewelry – Totaled

on June 09, 2010, 7:59am
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When reviewing any album, I tend to listen to it a couple times, leave it be for a few days, then come revisit it. Usually those few days in between are spent meditating in a snowy crevasse in the Himalayan Mountains, hanging out with monks and sherpas and reflecting on the music that I had just ingested. I try to decipher the deeper meaning, then regurgitate my findings into an album review.

OK, I may be exaggerating a bit – I’ve never hung out in the Himalayas with monks, as much as I’d love to. But I usually do spend a bit of time thinking about the albums I listen to in the following days. The good ones have tunes that bounce around in my head for days, or make me reconsider everything I’ve ever believed. I understand that not every album’s mission is to change your entire perspective on life, but at the very least there should be something memorable about at least one song.

Unfortunately, I cannot say that anything on Indian Jewelry’s latest LP, Totaled, stuck in my head for days, or even left me thinking about it. I went on about my life after my initial listens, and when I returned for another, I realized that I didn’t even remember a single one of the songs. My third listen might as well have been my first. That’s not to say the music isn’t particularly bad – it’s just not memorable. While some may cry foul and claim that “noise rock” isn’t supposed to get stuck in your head, I think there’s a fine line between not being catchy and not being memorable. Hell, even songs by Yellow Swans get stuck in my head randomly, and I wouldn’t exactly call them an accessible, catchy band.

The actual music on Totaled is somewhere between noise rock and accessible indie rock. While that combo can be a glorious thing, instead of embracing it, Indian Jewelry seem to be unsure of where to go with their sound.  They do seem to get it right, or at least close enough, on a couple of songs – like standout opener “Oceans” and synthy mid-tempo grinder “Tono Bungay”. These flashes of potential unfortunately get lost in 40 minutes of middling music that seems to last much longer than it actually does.

Indian Jewelry are not a bad band. Even after eight years in existence, like so many bands before them, they’re trying to find a sound to call their own. These things take time and can lead to some questionable material. If they keep going, I believe that they can find their stride and run with it, but for now they’re stuck in a rut of mediocrity. And while Totaled isn’t a complete waste of time, it won’t have anyone begging for more anytime soon. In the end, it’s just a forgettable release from a band who may not ever find the sound they are looking for, but don’t mind experimenting along the way.

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