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 Ive never hung out in the Himalayas with monks, as much as Id 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 Ive ever believed. I understand that not every albums 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 Jewelrys 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 didnt even remember a single one of the songs. My third listen might as well have been my first. Thats not to say the music isnt particularly bad its just not memorable. While some may cry foul and claim that “noise rock” isnt supposed to get stuck in your head, I think theres 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 wouldnt 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, theyre 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 theyre stuck in a rut of mediocrity. And while Totaled isnt a complete waste of time, it wont have anyone begging for more anytime soon. In the end, its just a forgettable release from a band who may not ever find the sound they are looking for, but dont mind experimenting along the way.