Review Summary: From Indian Lakes are back with more of the same.. Which is a very good thing.Don’t fix what ain’t broke
. It’s a common saying, a saying so often used to explain a record which has put forth little effort in differentiating itself from its predecessor. So much could be said about From Indian Lakes
sophomore effort Able Bodies
as it tries to encapsulate everything that is From Indian Lakes, but the label that will inevitably stick will be that Joey Vannucchi and company have no intention of fixing something that is not broken. And this is without a doubt the best thing that this young band could do, instead opting to perfect their sound by “trimming the fat” and almost
realizing their potential.
For the second time in as many albums From Indian Lakes opt to self-release their work of art, obviously aware of the risk that this approach garners, as well as the rewards to be reaped as complete rights owners to their songs. From Indian Lakes picks up exactly where they left off with 2009’s The Man With Wooden Legs
, with explosive opener Anything
. Once again we see Vannucchi question almost every single thing that is questionable, but this time it doesn’t seem as forced or gimmicky; these questions are often backed up by answers and when they’re not, the questions remain in your head, forcing you to think. It’s almost ironic the way From Indian Lakes have managed to create an album so full of questions yet so definite and straightforward.
As stated in previous reviews, From Indian Lakes sound can best be linked to As Cities Burn circa Come Now Sleep mixed with an emphasis of melody and hooks, all while containing enough twists and turns to make even the most listless of listener perk up and pay attention. Sonically, Able Bodies benefits from superb production and mixing. Everything that needs to be heard is heard exactly when it should be. The snaking guitar parts are often in the forefront of the mix, yet there are times which the listener is forced to dig deeper to try and ascertain exactly what is being played, a tactic I personally love as it allows one to discover new aspects with every listen. Obviously the focus of this album is once again the vocals and lyrics provided by Joey Vannucchi. He can be found yelling one minute and then the next crooning beautifully enough to put to shame almost any singer in the genre today.
The second time around From Indian Lakes know again when to slow things down and produce amazing acoustic/semi-acoustic songs, affording them the luxury of dictating the constant flow of Able Bodies. Songs such as I Don’t Know You
or Your Son
slow the album down at exactly the right time, allowing for the songs following to be that much more powerful. But they are so much more than just filler or dynamic builders. Your Son is a heartbreaking song that requires but a single listen to hear the pain and passion poured out in this song. And now I can’t get it out of my head. Pictures of you crying.. They make me cry too
Although this album is obviously not a stretch to change, it still can find many improvements that lead me to believe the best is yet to come for these young men out of Yosemite Valley. Lyrically, they remain similar to what was found 3 years ago, but they are less scattered and seem more poignant. Self-deprecation is still found along with constant questioning yet, as earlier stated, it seems almost easier to stomach. Do we ever dream at all? If I take what I have am I holding on to anything at all? I have looked out to sea and seen that I don’t see anything at all.
Musically there is an incorporation of keys absent from previous works, which can add some dramatic moments to the album without coming off as contrite, or just plain cheesy. The best example of this would be the closer ’Till I Can Walk
. This song is a song that sees the band firing on all cylinders, containing the loud soft dynamic so often found, keys to add to the effect of these dynamic shifts, snaking guitars and a semi-complicated time signature (for this band at least). The obvious emotional highlight of the album, the song manages to build and build until the “epic” last two minutes, two of the best minutes of music From Indian Lakes have managed to produce. And where is my happy song and where has my patience gone? Did they take it away or did I make it leave on my own?
Second albums are often “make-or-break” albums for bands, especially when both efforts have been self-released. From Indian Lakes manage to create an album, while not altogether ground-breaking or genre-bending that has managed to hone their core sound and set the stage for many more great things to come. From Indian Lakes has not managed to hit their stride completely, but when they do (and trust me, it’s going to happen soon) many many more heads shall be turned.
I meant to be lovely; I wanted to make the world proud. When no one is lovely I’ll make sure that I am around.. Where is my happy song?