Dance? Rock? Electronica? It's More than all Three
I'm surprised this album got a public airing. With record labels becoming more introverted and risk-averse, anyone would think that all they want is the next pop sensation. So it's with thanks that Cease|Stop have backed IndianRedLopez with this, their debut effort. As a far more eloquent man than I once said about this sort of music, it's dance music you can rock to, and rock music you can dance to. That's a fair analogy, although this guy was talking about the legendary Crystal Method.
There's more of a guitar leaning to this Scottish five-piece, who are building some momentum in their native country. That should continue with this first full-length. Opener '1881' is a deceptive instrumental, bringing you in before roughly careering you into the standout 'My Eyes'. This starts off as a piece of pulsating IDM before settling for simple, subtle lyrics. It's quite a unique proposition, with only a band like The Music offering a suitable comparison. There's less angst than the Leeds outfit though, and it makes for a slightly more focussed sound.
'K.Y.S.' starts from the ashes of track two, and almost had me thinking that Chris Rea had lent a guitar riff for them to build around. He hasn't, but there is a warning about the song, pleading with the listener to not do anything rash. It's good to hear that whoever is providing lead vocals (the press release lists four of them) doesn't lapse into faux-American and sticks with the Scottish. It lends something different.
After 'Ropes', the rest of the album loses it's reliance on "ooh, that sounds nice" instead showcasing their songwriting ability. It isn't clever but doesn't pretend to be, with tracks like 'The Third (Incision)' and 'The New Black' showing that they can just straight up write. Like an underrated boxer, this is pound-for-pound, one of the better albums so far this year.
There's a slight relapse with 'Of Intent', which has sweet-sounding Megaman-esque stabs interloping within the drums. It's there that I thought of the phrase J-Emo, but that's too shallow a definition. There's a lot of depth shown by the band and it isn't just one angle of attack either. 'Strobe Lights' is a slow burner, with the band smoothing the edges of their aggression without losing their bite and ability to personalise their lyrics to whomever happens to be listening. At over five minutes, it doesn't help that it tended to repeat itself a bit. Same with the long fades on a few of the songs. Are they necessary all the time?
It ends on a positive note. 'Our Empire' begins discordant and develops into defiance and positivity. Catharsis perhaps, couched in Temper Trap style imagery. It's a really nice note to end a superb LP on.
IndianRedLopez are soft electronica with a jagged percussive edge, countered by sometimes pleading, sometimes positive vocals. There's no real drawback to that style of music, especially as they seem to be able to mesh types and genres to create a deep arsenal of bespoke weaponry that will stun, enthuse and perplex us. Were it not for a few tired devices and the odd anonymous song, this would be perfect.