Review Summary: Don't be fooled by appearances; Indica are worlds away from the stereotypical pre-conception of an all-girl band. Prepare to be surprised.
The society that we live in today has unfortunate pre-conceptions about a band consisting of five young women. Words such as 'manufactured' and 'corporate' spring to mind and the music will be completely dismissed before the ignorant ears have given it a chance. The one good point of this assumption? Those who choose to listen are in for a pleasant surprise!
The Finnish Indica are by no means a stereotypical manufactured girl-group. The band was formed through Jonsu (Vocals/Violin/Guitars/Keyboard) and Heini (Bass) being friends from childhood and subsequently Sirkku (Keyboards/Clarinet), Jenny (Guitar) and Laura (Drums) joined up through meeting at various musical events. So, they're all friends here. As for the music, it's all written by Jonsu, the spectacular front woman of the band.
As for the music itself, it plays to be something spectacular. The album harbours many different moods and can even switch genres seamlessly without sounding dis-jointed. The songs are all written in the band's native Finnish language, which flows beautifully, and even if you cannot understand the meaning, it adds a sense of magic to the songs.
The album is opened by the dramatic 'Viimeinen Jyvä' (The Last Grain) is an insanely fast song which immediately has you hooked. Already, the musicianship of the women is commendable to keep up with such a pace. Jonsu's vocals are furious, and this is matched by the tone of the drums and guitar. Another song that features the heavy rock element of Indica's music is the beautifully named 'Pahan Tarha' (Garden of Evil). It's not as huge and swooping as Viimeinen Jyva but it has a chorus that will stay in your head for ages. Plus the riffage at the closing of the C-Section is gorgeous.
Though Indica's ability to rock hard is brilliant, they find themselves to be the most accomplished when they're playing atmospheric music, with a moodier tone. 'Nukkuu Kedolla' (Sleeps in the Field) is an example of this. It is haunting and soft, yet manages to be somehow epic at the same time, with particular praise to the chime sounds, that really add to the morose feeling. 'Mykkä' (Dumb) is also wonderful, and it showcases Sirkku's skills on the clarinet. After hearing this, it makes you wonder why it doesn't feature more on the album! The bass rhythm in the song is also outstanding. Also, the albums lingering closer 'Helmet' (Pearls) is a very jazz oriented number, and it perfectly brings to mind a dark smoky room, with Jonsu waltzing around a stage.
Many of Indica's songs simply aren't easily catagorised, and still deserve a mention. 'Noita' (Witch) is the darkest song on the track, and the layering of the vocals on the chorus's near the end of the song sounds like some sort of ghostly possession. It's a haunting number, and works fantastically. 'Linnansa Vanki' (The Prisoner of the Castle) and 'Ulkona' (Outside) are both more upbeat songs, that feel more pop-like in their rhythm and simplicity, but this definitely works to their favour. On the other end of the spectrum, the eerie and moody 'Ikävänkantaja' (Carrier of Longing) is more to the folk rock side of Indica's music, and the humming at the end of the song gives it both a creepy and a sad mood.
Though most of the material on the album is brilliant, it does have some rather more mediocre songs. 'Äänet' (Voices) is a slower piano based track which, although has some neat almost-ABBA sounding parts to it, is rather more forgettable. Similarly, the majority of 'Unten Laiva' (Ship of Dreams) isn't particularly memorable, save for Jonsu's violin parts which sounds lovely. These songs are by no means bad, but they don't compare to the excellence of the rest of the material on the album.
The gist of this review is that Indica are a very complicated band with a hard to define sound. If it had to be summed up, I would say; "atmospheric rock music with tendencies towards folk and jazz" however, that completely fails to capture the magic of Indica, and Kadonnut Puutarha, which translated means 'The Lost Garden'.
Honestly, if it weren't for the two more forgettable songs, this album would be scored a five. Indica's music is positively stunning, and nothing like anything else you may have heard before. If the Finnish language barrier isn't an issue for you, then I would recommend that you check them out!
As for now, I'll my say my three highlights are; Noita, Mykkä and Helmet.