Review Summary: Putting the art in cathartsis
Finish this sentence: That’s not real
emo! If you want real
emo listen to ________. Now, if you're anything like the majority of emo aficionados I've found on the internet, I’m assuming you answered with Indian Summer. When I first came upon these blogs recounting the full "history of emo" I considered myself a fan of the genre (mostly because the media listed the majority of bands I liked as emo) and so I decided to give the band a shot.
The first thing that caught my attention was that the only album by the band available for download was their discography. I found this very shocking, and thought that perhaps downloading all of their songs at once would be overwhelming, but after finally downloading the file, I found that there were in fact only 9 songs in the Indian Summer discography. And so, I wondered how a band could ever be so influential to anybody with just 9 songs in their recorded repertoire.
But then I decided to stop thinking, relax and just play the album. But relaxing to the music was hard to do. It was so dark and intense, but not in the conventional sense. I mean, I'd always thought that for music to be intense it had to be going at 100 miles per hour with 50 different things happening at once and the vocalist had to be screaming until his vocal cords burst, the drummer had to break his set, and the guitarists strings had to come undone. But, these guys were just playing a slow, blues riff and I could already understand how this was emo and stuff the media told me was emo could never dream to be this emotional.
As the riff slowly moved on and on, gaining more and more momentum, the train was in fact leaving and its destination would be my mind, causing it to explode. The lyrics may not have been that spectacular, ("I think your train is leaving/Looks like it may/I think you train is leaving/Train don’t leave/Don't leave")
but I realized that wasn’t the point of the music. Each song could tell the same story without any of the lyrics. Still, the lyrics were relevant to give justification to the amazing vocals. Without the earnest yelps of "This is the moment/This is the moment/I am the angry son"
"Angry Son" couldn't be the same song.
But the most awe-inspiring aspect of the music is how little influence they had to go on. According to the band's (posthumous) myspace, their main influences were Vodka, drugs, Oakland, poverty, and the bands Codeine, Slint, and Seam. While their sound may not be as impressive today as it was when it first came out thanks to bands who took their love of the fusion of post-rock and punk and were able to write more viable lyrics. But without Indian Summer and their insatiable discography there is no City of Caterpillar or Circle Takes the Square (to name a few).
It's hard to think of any more adjectives to continue to fellate this album, so I'll just be blunt and say this is a ***ing amazing album and you should probably download/find a copy as soon as possible.