From Indian Lakes
Head Void


3.5
great

Review

by Sunnyvale STAFF
May 14th, 2024 | 22 replies


Release Date: 05/15/2024 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Continuity and change

I’ve always admired artists who manage to transition from one distinct style to another, and do both well. From Indian Lakes is a trademark example - the project’s early work (a la 2009’s The Man With Wooden Legs) was definable as emo/post-hardcore, but by few releases later (like 2014’s Absent Sounds) the music was more in line with dream pop. My personal preference is for the latter era, with Absent Sounds as a borderline classic and its follow-up, 2016’s Everything Feels Better Now, with its wintry sense of gloom, not far behind, but there haven’t been any bad releases throughout the discography.

It’s now been five years since the last From Indian Lakes album. 2019’s Dimly Lit is an enjoyable listen, but to this reviewer’s ears marks a (relatively) weak point in the canon, with the dreamy era growing a tad stale, while the tracklist feels overstuffed (even if most of the tunes are fairly short). In the half-decade since Dimly Lit’s release, From Indian Lakes mastermind Joey Vannucchi has still been engaged in music-making, but concentrating primarily on his Joe Vann project, a more stripped-back affair which was particularly suitable during the pandemic and its aftermath. Now, with Head Void, Vannucchi’s more famous vehicle is back, and its creator identifies his latest effort as a reversion away from the gentler singer-songwriter tendencies exemplified by Joe Vann. Indeed, he cites the punk and hardcore scenes of his younger days as key influences upon his intent to make a “louder” record this time around.

In truth, I don’t hear many traces of either punk or hardcore on Head Void, but there’s little denying that, for large swaths of the runtime, this album is a more aggressive effort than usual. Particularly in the record’s first half, the effervescent and easy-going dream pop which has been From Indian Lakes’ bread-and-butter for a while now is traded in for a more crunching shoegaze/alt-rock sound more associated with bands like Gleemer or even Nothing (perhaps not coincidentally, Will Yip does get a mastering credit here). In the album’s second half, though, the predominant sound mellows significantly and feels much closer to From Indian Lakes’ previous three album run.

As a whole, Head Void can be a rather frustrating listen - there’s a lot of brilliant elements, but only a few songs which I’d characterize as fully successful. Particular strengths include the guitar tone, which is often godly, and the aforementioned shift towards a heavier sound in the album’s first half, which feels like a due change of pace for the project. The best tracks, too, manage to strike gold in different ways - “The Wilderness” as perhaps the most complete display of the record’s aspiration for a more hard-rockin’ sound, “I Lay Different” as a vigorous number propelled along by anxious energy, and “Keep Me” as a marvelously immersive closer. Other tracks are mostly good-to-great as well (although the chorus in “The Lines” is actively irritating), but don’t get a ringing endorsement for various reasons - “Water”, for example, is quite beautiful but feels oddly hamstrung between being an intro and a full-blown song, while several of the second half tracks, like “Spilling Over” and “Shrine” aren’t particularly memorable on their own merits.

In the end, I’d characterize Head Void as a mild disappointment in its role as From Indian Lakes’ long-awaited return. It’s an album with a lot of great songs, and it does marginally improve on Dimly Lit, particularly by trimming the fat for a more taut listening experience. But, there are two major problems. First, while From Indian Lakes seems well-suited for the heavier gaze sound implemented here, but the material itself in that vein isn’t particularly striking in quality. Second, that very direction doesn’t feel like it was fully committed to - the album’s second half is generally a slide back towards the comfort zone of more soothing dream pop which has reliably populated previous From Indian Lakes albums. While the resulting sonic diversity is appreciated, Head Void is a short enough album that greater homogeneity would be unlikely to hurt, and would’ve instead added up to a more coherent identity for the release. Taken together, these gripes suggest that Head Void may well end up being a transitional release from From Indian Lakes, as the album seems a little stranded between continuity and change. All in all, it’s good to have the project back, and this latest effort will probably please existing fans, even if it’s unlikely to rank as a crowning achievement.



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user ratings (22)
3.5
great


Comments:Add a Comment 
Sunnyvale
Staff Reviewer
May 14th 2024


5917 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Album is out tomorrow, Wednesday, May 15th.



I've been listening to this for a few weeks now - I'm not entirely sold on it but I think From Indian Lakes will always be (at minimum) quite enjoyable for me. Some killer songs, but the whole package doesn't quite come together, so this tied with Dimly Lit for my lowest-rated From Indian Lakes LP.



Definitely worth checking, I'm curious what the consensus feeling on this will be.

GreyShadow
May 14th 2024


7070 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

i only listened to the first single and i liked it quite a bit but i kinda feared that your takeaway was going to be the result of this. tis a shame. im a bigger fan of the first 2 albums (still really like 3 and 4!) so I yearn for anything a bit more hardcore from these guys so i was hoping there would be some elements of that found here

Hawks
May 14th 2024


88483 Comments


Eveeything Feels Better Now is the only one I've heard from themm and it rulez. Gonna have to get on this and the others.

GreyShadow
May 15th 2024


7070 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

almost done



feels like such a half measure. glad it's like half the length of the last but that definitely had higher highs. Holy and The Flow were very good

Purpl3Spartan
May 15th 2024


8645 Comments


Absent sound will forever be banging

Might peep this nice rev

onionbubs
May 15th 2024


21109 Comments


damn albums dropping on wednesdays now huh

heard this band is a decent rec for copeland fans (of whom i adore) where would i embark

Zeiu
May 15th 2024


303 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I dig it and this band, probably won't be back though

bigweinerdon
May 15th 2024


2682 Comments


From indian whey

butt.
May 15th 2024


10968 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

He sounds so much like Thom Yorke on I Lay Different. Wasn’t expecting that lol

butt.
May 15th 2024


10968 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Still nowhere near the conviction of the first 3 albums, but this is still pretty nice. Wish it were a little longer and tried something else new and risky. Joey seems to be permanently stuck in…the flow…these days. Water is a good opener.

Meborphus
May 15th 2024


190 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Pretty stoked to hear this today - I missed their listening party earlier this week.

Feather
May 15th 2024


10168 Comments


Been meaning to check out this band more, but this is not looking like it would be the best place to start

Calc
May 15th 2024


17360 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

oooo yay its out. hope it's good.

suppatime
May 15th 2024


1820 Comments


Hoping and thinking this is a grower. Not a bad record though, I think 2nd half might be better than the 1st. Dimly Lit sounded like one song the first couple times I listened and now I think it's only behind Absent Sounds so maybe this one will also grow a little harder. Seems a little more basic and stripped back however.

GreyShadow
May 15th 2024


7070 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

@onion their most Copeland adjacent is Absent Sounds

butt.
May 15th 2024


10968 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Got to see both FIL and Copeland play together at a small club in Detroit a few years ago, right after Blushing came out. Such a good show.

GreyShadow
May 15th 2024


7070 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

yeah, great tour. Copeland was especially impressive.

jcurry094
May 15th 2024


45 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I'm definitely in the minority here, I think this rules. It's what I've wanted from Joey/FIL for a while now. The interwoven romantic/religious imagery blends the early- and latter-eras so well. And it's got RIFFS! Able Bodes is still my #1, and I love everything FIL's done, but this is high up there for me.

Meborphus
May 15th 2024


190 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I agree jcurry - this is right up my alley. I think it sits around a 3.75 but repeat listens will probably edge it over for me. Gleemer comp is on point though and that may explain why I'm loving it.



The Lines is pretty grating though, agreed.

suppatime
May 16th 2024


1820 Comments


Ayyyy I think I'm gonna get there too fellas, just need a bit more time with it. 2nd time is already more agreeable and I didn't dislike it by any means on the 1st one.



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