Release Date: 24th January 2014
Gary 'Rockulus' Clarke
A few years ago I purchased a wonderfully presented CD called 'A Way Away' by a Finnish all-female band called Indica. It exhibited moments of Gothic Rock, whimsical eclectic mannerisms and a sense of fresh adventure.
Diverse is one word that would apply to the listening experience and I discovered that this album was their first studio outing that was tackling the English language within their lyrics. Until this point they were very much focussed on their native country and their lyrical outpourings reflected this outlook.
On and off I would check out their social media profile and official website for updates regarding a follow-up album and with the band experiencing one delay after another, this proved to yield a fruitless exercise. But now I can rejoice quietly in my grubby corner of the universe of Rock as the announcement of 'Shine', the elusive next album is ready for release.
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This music isn't Nightwish in power and presentation, and it doesn't really qualify as a direct comparison to most Gothic Rock or female-fronted rock music that you're likely to encounter anytime soon.
I find myself using the word "whimsical" because it feels like a soundtrack to a daydream. Slightly out of focus and full of air, it floats through the ear canals and drifts on an unobtainable breeze.
'A Definite Maybe' was the first single I heard and aired on my humble rock show. Lightweight and carried along on wings of melody, it's quirky and charming. 'Goodbye To Berlin' was the second encounter with this new session and this had a little more urgency. The guitars are light and fluffy but yet they drive forwards making this song upbeat in comparison to its predecessor.
'Shine' starts out with an underlying orchestration bringing with it some imminent suspense as the album prepares the listener for a journey in to the minds of leading lady Jonsu (vocals, violin and guitar); Heini (bass and backing vocals); Sirkku (keyboards and backing vocals); Jenny (guitar and backing vocals) and by no means less significant, Laura tacking the drums.
According to Jonsu: "After a few nervous breakdowns the echoes of our screaming producer Roland Spremberg are finally silent, and now afterwards we are very thankful that he went through all that trouble with us, because he made us work like slaves and got more out of us that we could have ever hoped for.
"We experienced moments from growth to times when we thought if there is any point to go on making music at all. The studio sessions in Germany were sometimes over 14 hours at one go. I had heard that the Germans are hard workers and I really felt it making this album."
Strings are current in and out of the running of 'Shine'. Their presence can be heard most notably on a ballad like 'Run Run', the building 'Here And Now' and as a dramatic and moody backdrop to the latter half of 'Hush Now Baby'.
Dare I use a comparison like Kate Bush in relation to the music of Indica? They don't sound exactly like the formidable solo artist, but they carry a spirit that could be associated. Indica's fearless approach to diversity can be heard on a song like 'A Kid In The Playground' which stutters and crackles a little with life after the swaying that can be felt on the previous tracks.
If you're exhausted from the primitive display of Heavy Metal riffs with the new Primal Fear album, or the relentless energy exposed on the latest Supersuckers album; maybe the melodic Death Metal exploits of The Unguided have left you breathless? 'Shine' is the light relief; the contrast to such intensities, here to soothe the furrowed brow.
If this album was an object, it would be a feather drifting on a soft breeze.
Mountain Made Of Stone
A Definite Maybe
Goodbye To Berlin
Here And Now
Hush Now Baby
Behind The Walls
A Kid In The Playground