Review Summary: Brightly shining
From Indian Lakes is what some might call a solo project from Joey Vannuchi, the voice and main songwriter of the project. While his first release was composed within the bounds of a standard rock band, over time new instruments, members and ideas have clearly matured the process dramatically. The arc of From Indian Lakes seems to remind me of Aaron Marsh’s Copeland. Modest beginnings hinted at a stunning talent poised to bloom, and Copeland transcended their early material with each release, providing us with a stellar catalog of work. Copeland’s maturity and vision paired with all the skill and chops to back it are commendable and celebrated. Where will From Indian Lakes body of work stand at the end of the workday?
"The Man With Wooden Legs" started us off with a passionate and brash offering, followed by "Able Bodies" and "Absent Sounds" which brought us fantastic songwriting and a more streamlined approach. "Everything Feels Better Now" led us into a dreamy reverb and synth-laden world that seemed to take a more modest approach in terms of writing, but lush soundscapes created more of a mood piece. This brings us to "Dimly Lit" which seems to mold all four of those early works together into one. The clever use of time is immediately heard in “New Love” which bounces between a 4/4 and 6/8 feel so skillfully that one does not even seem to realize the trick. The songwriting is as tight as Absent Sounds, heard within the bouncy and playful “Your Heartbeat Against Mine”, with its simple verse to chorus appeal. Its simple structure hides an amazing skill of layering tones to create a wall of immersive chiming. It is this style of layered arpeggio I heard on their second full length (see “My Mouth, My Lips”) that really made me fall in love with the band. But here on Dimly Lit, instead of guitars creating the wall of sound, we have an abundance of nondescript synth sounds. It’s this layering of tones on top of such a well composed song structure that creates such an immersive listen.
Mr. Vannuchi sure does have some talented friends to invite to the party. The album is mixed so well, at times it is hard to realize they are even there at first, and then suddenly you are grasping for the liner notes to identify the new voice. Most often his guests are used much like the instruments found layered throughout the entire recording, pushed into the pile of harmony. But if you can get a powerhouse like Lynn Gunn to grace your music… put her right in the front. I can at times liken the journey through this music to swimming. As Gunn’s vocals fade out two and half minutes into “Did We Change” I suddenly feel as though I am floating through a strange and colorful aquarium full of barking fish, bubbles floating from their mouths and mine, slowly upwards to a glimmering sky shining above the water’s surface. Maybe I did too much acid back in the day…
Complaints? Sure. Did all 16 songs need to make the record? No. But I am certainly not complaining, because it is just more wonderful stuff to explore until the next release. I hope I am not the only one looking forward to hearing what Vannuchi will bring us in the future. I hope the sound he has grown known for expands. I also hope to hear his haunting falsetto in more sparse instrumentation from time to time. I loved Remixed Sounds and always look forward to more electronic compositions. I guess I hope to just keep hearing more, and I hope From Indian Lakes will keep feeding it to us.