Search The Line of Best Fit
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Release date: 17 March 2014
IndianRedLopez – Commit
26 March 2014, 13:30 Written by Laurence Day

How IndianRedLopez have managed to stay under the radar for this long is incomprehensible – the Aberdeen locals have been compared to Mew, Interpol and Spiritualized for starters – but that’s all set to change with Commit, the quintet’s second LP.

Arriving two and a half years after their debut full-length, Empty Your Lungs And Breathe, the five-piece are leaving behind their post-rock/indie soundscapes (of which Idlewild would’ve been proud to call their own), for their surreptitious mistress, electropop. There’s always been a synthesised core to the group’s sound, but instead of cowering behind six-stringer crenellations and towers of droney noise, it’s gormlessly grinning front’n’centre like a really, really happy puppy.

As Commit dawns with “Any Given City”, the Mew comparisons flare up. Lead vocalist Mike Chang’s Scottish twang bears an uncanny resemblance to Jonas Bjerre’s dulcet pipes, which is heightened against the female harmonies. The distorted sci-fi indie-pop sounds, sprawling and floating as if gliding through the cosmos, are chilled-out enough as to feature on Frengers. It’s like a lost B-side from the perfect album (so, if it’s not clear, that’s one of the best things that can happen ever). Swiftly bulleting onwards, “Taking A Fall For Me” is all icy synth and piano stabs above gravel-flavoured post-punk basslines. It’s oddly nu-metal sounding, which is more strange than anything – it’s super high-energy trauma, which sets the mood for the majority of the record.

Where once oceans of guitar, swaddled in pedalbard FX, would serve as a solid basis, IndianRedLopez have opted to careen down electric boulevard this time around. Commit‘s a lot more reliant on synthesisers to form the bulk of the record. They’ve always been a bit fond of drum machines, and now they slot in a lot more easily, rather than jarring against the overly organic axe riffery and grizzled bass. The overall tone and ‘feel’ of their music hasn’t altered all that much, and it still feels like the same band, but the methods they’ve used to reach this point are different. Guitars and rock instrumentation is still frequently stumbled across, but the shift in focus from natural to electric is instantly obvious.

“At Night I Dream Of Stormy Seas” is drenched in maudlin vocals – it pulls towards emo territories (is this what post-emo sounds like?) – but is a prime example of their timbre shift. Glittering pads and coiled synth strings blur with haggard bass grumbles. Electro-rock ditty “Life Back In Me”, sounding a tad like Linkin Park in their Numb era, is another glaring example. It’s all glossy, emotive keys and trance-lite motifs.

They do venture towards their rock roots though: “Signal Novice” is industrial pop, with clanking rhythms and dark hooks, the title track (with a vocal line uncannily resembling “All The Things She Said” by t.A.T.u.) is similarly brooding. Guitars noodles with metal technicality, there’s whirring chords and walloping bass notes. It feels mechanical, but not particularly electronic.

With the amount of in-your-face earworms, the kind that’ll dig trenches and cement themselves into your brain, and sublime choruses being displayed proudly on Commit, it beggar’s belief that they’ll remain underground heroes for long. This is pop music, plain for all to see; their post-rockier beginnings aren’t exactly going to turn people off, but when you’ve got energy and hooks blaring out like air raid sirens, it’s kinda hard to avoid them. IndianRedLopez do have a siren-like record here, in both senses of the word, and you’d be a fool to think this is anything but a launchpad of a record.

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