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 411mania » Music » Album Reviews

Indica - Shine Review
Posted by Daniel Wilcox on 02.27.2014

My 2014 Reviews:
Ed Harcourt - Time of Dust EP [8.0]
Warpaint - Warpaint [9.0]
Against Me! - Transgender Dysphoria Blues [7.0]
Sophie Ellis-Bextor - Wanderlust [9.0]
Mogwai - Raves Tapes [4.0]
Young the Giant - Mind Over Matter [6.0]
You Me At Six - Cavalier Youth [5.5]
Gaslight Anthem - The B-Sides [6.5]
Of Mice and Men - Restoring Force [8.0]
Within Temptation - Hyrda [8.5]
Bombay Bicycle Club - So Long, See You Tomorrow [8.0]
The Rifles - None the Wiser [5.0]
Skindred - Kill the Power [7.0]
Katy B - Little Red [9.0]
The Family Rain - Under the Volcano [7.0]
Clare Maguire - Clare Maguire EP [7.0]
Behemoth - The Satanist [7.0]
Wild Beasts - Present Tense [10.0]
Beck - Morning Phase [9.5]
Issues - Issues [7.0]
Fanfarlo - Let's Get Extinct [4.0]
The Chain Gang of 1974 - Daydream Forever [3.5]
Indica - Shine [5.0]
Grand Magus - Triumph and Power [6.0]
Nina Nesbitt - Peroxide [9.0]

Indica is:
Leena Johanna Salomaa – vocals, violin
Jenny Mandelin – guitar
Heini Saisa – bass
Sirkku Karvonen – keyboards
Laura Hakkanen – drums


Track listing:
1. Mountain Made of Stone
2. Uncovered
3. A Definite Maybe
4. Goodbye to Berlin
5. Run Run
6. Here and Now
7. Missing
8. Hush Now Baby
9. Behind the Walls
10. A Kid in the Playground
11. War Child
Running time: 40:09

It's a wonder Indica haven't gained more of a following. They're popularity in their native Finland has been rising rapidly for the last decade, assisted by numerous tours in support of Nightwish. When you think of successful girl bands, you think of big pop hooks, criminally attractive women and celebrity status. Indica tick two of these boxes, leaving the third one blank, but they also have a knack for producing arena-filling rock music. Their debut English album A Way Away was released in 2010 and didn't garner much attention, but Shine is a much more attentive affair and commands your attention.

Opener “Mountain Made of Stone” flies by and feels more like a low-tempo intro than it does a lead single. “Uncovered” is a piano-led ditty that strives on the accomplished vocal of Salomaa. “A Definite Maybe” is a quirky number backed with acoustic guitars but one that maintains a frantic pace even if it doesn't necessarily lead a lasting impression. One of the record's highlights is the rockier “Goodbye to Berlin” that borrows and tweaks some familiar riffs but utilises them in such a way that you can't help but tap your feet at a minimum and get up and dance if you're in that kind of mood. “Run Run” follows it and immediately seems misplaced, it's slower tempo and sickly sweet vocal bringing the record to something of a halt. It's a well-produced number but it's chock full of cliché. There are plenty of European influences present on “Here and Now” and it features one of the best vocal performances of the album, and it builds layers of keys and guitar work to a nice climax.

The latter half of the album is where it all goes a bit wrong, but that's perhaps because Indica fails to really mix things up. It's repetitive drum pulses and middling vocals do nothing for it and it almost feels like these tracks are repeating themselves. “Missing” for all its 80s nostalgia, lacks the technical brilliance and passion of the female-fronted rock bands Indica attempts to emulate. Comparisons to the likes of Nightwish seem quite far-fetched with songs as timid as “Hush Now Baby,” another ballad that aims for the gothic audience but fails to scratch the service. “Behind the Walls” is catchy enough when it reaches a chorus, but it takes an age to get there and the build up isn't interesting enough to get the listener invested. The girls share vocal duties throughout and this works best on “Behind the Walls,” but there isn't a single vocal powerful enough to command a performance. The album finishes strongly, penultimate track “A Kid in the Playground” has a really groove to it with some fantastic bass, and the chorus is pretty snazzy. We're not sure if the subject matter is supposed to be metaphorical, or if they're really singing about kids in a playground like it was an episode of Survivor though. “War Child” finally ticks the gothic box, with much dark, more soulful vocals and lyrics and a deliberately haunting pace.

Categorizing Indica isn't easy by any means and there's where the album struggles. The majority of the tracks are far too indebted to 80s pop and girl power to appeal to fans of their touring partners and similar artists like Within Temptation. And despite their modest chart success in their homeland, it's easy to see why the band has struggled to make an impact outside of mainland Europe; their songs, for the most part, simply aren't catchy enough. The vocal harmonies are nice but kept to a minimum, and you get the impression that this is a band that doesn't wish to offend anyone, so they play it as safe as they possibly can. The result is an album of an undefined sound, with songs that meander round and around in circles until at some point it simply has to stop.

Indica - “A Definite Maybe”

The 411Shine is an album of schizophrenic proportions. On the one hand Indica look to write dark, melancholy tracks that dozens of other acts in the Scandinavian countries have considerable success with. And maybe it's because every member of the band is a young, attractive female, but they also swerve off and look to capture lightning in a bottle with sickly sweet pop shenanigans. Afraid of isolating either fan base, the results are all a bit middle of the road. Most of the album isn't actually bad at all, on the contrary most songs have a certain merit about them, but very have anything that will you remember them half an hour after the album's ended. There's potential in some of their earlier releases, and even some of the bonus tracks contain hidden gems where the band does embrace their darker side, but for the most part this is a decent but forgettable album of mildly catchy pop songs.
Final Score:  5.0   [ Not So Good ]  legend


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